Monday, 30 January 2012

Starry starry night

Just a few photos from the other night up at Hope point taking photos as it was a beautiful clear night.

20120127-DSC_3552Shackletons cross and the Southern cross

20120128-DSC_3707 Gas nebula

20120128-DSC_3712 The Southern cross (top of the frame)

20111209-trails2The result of almost 2hrs

Saturday, 21 January 2012

More boating

This week has been pretty busy with boating operations again. Taking one of the government officers out to do some GPS mapping work, and also ferrying around the two Norwegian reindeer experts who are looking at where they travel and how best to deal with their removal.


Taking one RIB and one Jet boat we headed over to the Barff peninsula whist the GO, Kelvin (invasive plant eradicator) and Matt boat went ashore, setting up the GPS and leaving it to make it’s recordings takes just over an hour, so we had a nice relaxing sit on the boat hanging around and enjoying the scenery.


As I was busy driving the RIB Tommy had borrowed my camera and took photos from the Jet boat. We had a interesting ride back from the Busen having moved the reindeer guys. The flap on the back of the RIB that allows water to drain out had come slightly open, and wondering why we were steadily getting slower I looked around to discover there was about a foot of water sloshing around in the back! In the excitement of opening the flap fully to allow the water to drain away I also managed to pull out one of the engine kill cords, so had to start the engine again too. All good fun!

20120118-DSC_3061Fur Seal sitting on a nicely sculptured piece of ice

20120118-DSC_3082 Matt driving the Jet boat

20120118-DSC_3095 Me and Erny on the RIB (now minus 1foot of water)

There were plenty of seals in the water as we were driving around, several times both vessels had to swerve slightly to give them some extra room. They are usually quite inquisitive though leaping out of the water to have a good look, or just being generally curious.

20120118-DSC_3151 Cruise ship on the horizon, and some curious furries

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Whale in the bay

On Sunday I was asked to give a science talk to the passengers aboard the expedition ship Polar Pioneer. After the talk I was invited to return for a BBQ in the evening, despite the occasional sleet, rain, hail and chilly wind it was a nice evening, and I especially enjoyed the ice cream cone with rum and raisin, and chocolate ice cream!

Part way through the evening someone shouted that they had seen a whale. I thought it was probably just a large elephant seal as we never get whales in the cove, but sure enough, less than 50m away was a Southern right whale! We put out a radio call to base and they came out to see too, although it was getting pretty dark so there were no good photos. It hung around for quite a spell, and was seen surfacing in different areas in the cove until it was too dark to see. I think the passengers were slightly amused by how excited we were as surely this would happen all the time for us, but no, it really doesn’t!

I was on earlies on Monday, so got up and did the base checks and baked bread. Matt boat appeared fairly early, and out of the window spotted a whale surfacing! With a quick check through the binoculars we could see that there were two Southern right whales, and they were cruising back and forth across the entrance to the cove. Needless to say I quickly grabbed my camera and started taking rather a lot of photos!




By mid morning there was even more excitement as they started doing impressive fluking, raising their tail out of the water and slapping it back down, creating an impressive splash and a boom that we could hear from a mile away!

whale filmstrip 01

By using the high speed continuous shooting on my camera I could get 6 frames per second and display them as a kind of filmstrip.

whale filmstrip 02

It was amazing to watch the whales, and hopefully over the years there will be more and more to see.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Busy week

There was lots going on last week, trips to Maiviken every 2 days to count the Fur Seals, boating for various visiting scientists and government projects, and finished off with the first session of pup weighing (which I’ll leave for another entry).

20111230-DSC_2423Me at the helm of one of the harbour launches

20111230-DSC_2435Jon and Katie in the RIB

20111230-DSC_2459One of the first trips out was to take collect a group of 4 Norwegian Lake corers from the Busen peninsula. The amount of gear they had was astonishing. Two inflatable boats, outboard, coring equipment, pipes to store cores, a ladder, personal gear etc. It only just fitted on the back of the harbour launch. There was plenty of ice about which had come off the glacier, it wasn’t tight packed, and with the boats being very manoeuvrable it was easy enough to weave a path through. The second trip out was to collect two people from another location on the Busen, they had been catching rats for DNA sampling. They didn’t have too much gear, so it was a straightforward trip. They had found an elephant seal weaner stuck in a wallow, so extra guys from base came to to help dig it out.

20111230-DSC_2470Weaner set free

20111230-DSC_2474The old Jason Harbour hut is very rustic

20111230-DSC_2482Katie and Matt on the RIB


The lake corers then went on a trip to the Barff peninsula. Jon and I drove the RIB on this trip, it was a nice change to driving harbour launch. They stayed at Corral hut, but all their other equipment was dropped off further along the coast. Two of our staff went over for a bit of a holiday and helped them out with carrying gear up the hill to the lake.



20120102-P1010646I discovered I’d started to wear holes in my work Paramo jacket where my rucksack goes and where the elastic waist cord is in the jacket. I’ve taken the cord out now as I don’t use it anyway.


On the way back from Maiviken Tommy and Ernie were servicing the hydro station. It is switched off as builders were digging near the HV cable. They also managed to scrape the cable, so it stayed off for a few days. All the annual servicing has been done now though so not a wasted outage. It’s a very interesting turbine, shape, and incredibly efficient too. Hydro servicing complete and HV cable all fine we are now back on green energy.

That’s all for now, so until pup weighing appears, Happy New Year to you all.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

RIP Dong San

I just heard (possibly been told already but forgot) that the Krill trawler that I went on over the winter went in to Cape Town for a bit of a refit, (ships going to South America were mysteriously catching fire), and guess what, she caught fire.

There are more pictures here at

© Glenn Kasner
I’m slightly surprised she could catch fire, when I was on board there was so much water sloshing around everywhere that all wood etc was soaking wet and would never have burnt!

Don San alongside a reefer and tanker