The last month has been a bit of a whirlwind, I’m not sure where to start…
The Pharos arrived early in the month with the builders and the museum staff, the first of two main waves that will see base numbers swell during the summer months. Coincidentally the weekend of their arrival saw most of the snow melt, so it suddenly felt like summer was here and winter had ended abruptly. As the snow melted and the sun warmed the soil underneath you could smell vegetation in the air. People I’ve spoken to who have wintered on the southern bases (Rothera and Halley) have told me about being able to smell vegetation two days before returning to the Falklands by ship at the end of a winter season.
By the end of last month we had a few Elephant seals around. Now we have hundreds, including pups! The fur seals have slowly started to return as have the King penguins. It’s incredible to see all the wildlife about, I think I took it for granted last summer.
WARNING: some of the pictures below are gruesome and definitely not for the faint-hearted. I’ll try and warn you before each one, but one of the things about being down here is living with nature (I rarely get a full night’s sleep right now as there are huge Elephant seals barking outside my window) and there is no escaping the realities of it at times… So if you think the pictures ‘are a bit much’ remember this is going on non-stop around me at the moment. I think it would be an unfair representation of things if I didn’t blog about it!
Base numbers will have risen to a scary number next month – about 30! The new lot are expected in late November, so I should be well underway with the new boatie and getting him familiar with the boats and surroundings. I’ve really enjoyed being the lone boatie over the last 4 months but with the busy summer season nearly here it will be good to share the load – also nice to have some company in the boat shed!
I was asked a few questions after last months blog, some of which I’ve answered in pictures above but some were regarding the tsunami shelter and tsunamis at KEP.
I’m not an authority on either but here’s what I know……
We are close to the South American and the Scotia tectonic plates which are reasonably active and have been known to cause tremors at KEP, even small tsunamis. A 20cm tsunami was recorded here a few years back, not exactly scary! I guess there is potential for a large one but given how tucked away in Cumberland bay we are, I would think that the sting would be taken out of any tsunami headed our way, as the other shorelines between us and the open sea absorb most of the force.
The other question related to the best course of action in the event (or imminent arrival) of one, and would heading out to sea be the best option? If I was in one of my boats I’d head for the deepest water I could find as fast as I could. At sea or in deep water tsunamis are basically a large swell and only become dangerous when the sea bed starts to ‘shelf’ (become shallow as it reaches shore) and turns into a breaking wave. I think the best way to handle one at sea is head on and with as much speed as you can (though admittedly that didn’t work out too well for George Clooney and co in ‘The Perfect Storm’). Obviously on land the best thing to do is get high as you can as quickly as you can.
Check out last month’s post if you want to see our cosy tsunami shelter!