Last updated: Saturday 11th  November 2017   

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Saturday has been a duller day,  weather wise,  than Friday,  but there has been little wind and the conditions have been excellent for the base relief and fuelling at Bird Island.  With the bulk of the cargo now ashore and much of the day spent sending fuel ashore I took the opportunity to go ashore for a brief look at the base,  which I don't think I have been to for four or five years.  Much to my delight I found myself with a small group being taken to see the gentoo penguins and then up the hill to see the wandering albatross chicks.  I have not been outside the base limits since about 2002.

The Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross at anchor in Bird Sound this afternoon.

A gentoo penguin picking up some material for it's nest.  Normally these birds use pebbles (often stealing from other nests nearby).

My guide was telling me that the gentoos  typically raise two chicks and many of those that we saw had chicks that were  one or two days old.

Bird Island Base.  The beach seemed to be very empty of seals,  but in the coming weeks it will fill up with fur seals and walking across the beach will become an interesting exercise.

A wandering albatross chick up on the hillside,  about a ten minute walk from the base.  This bird is off it's nest,  which is nearby,  and still relies on it's parents to feed it every two or three days.

A somewhat fluffy wandering albatross chick sitting on it's nest.  The feathers are so fine that even in the very light wind they moved freely.

One thing I forgot to mention about arriving on Bird Island is the smell.  It has a very distinct odour but after being ashore for a short period of time one gets used to it.  All my outdoor clothing from my visit is sitting in the Radio Room rather then my cabin as they have retained some of the smell.

The view from up one of the hills at Bird Island.  Access to this spot was via a number of rocky streams,  littered with bones of birds and seals.  The fur seals have a habit of hiding behind the tussock grass and growling at you as you pass.

Walking back to the base down the stream.  The large sticks came in handy to keep a safe footing but are actually used to keep fur seals at bay.  Should a fur seal take a fancy to you an come at you snarling,  then the stick is used under the chin and this makes them back off. 

Some of the dried food,  delivered in folding plastic boxes,  awaiting to be unpacked and stored in the base.  The empty cases are then flattened and returned to the ship to be taken back to the UK and used again next season.

The water in Jordan Cove is crystal clear and I spotted these penguins swimming past just before I returned to the ship.

The last fuel run completed the JCR has now moved out of Bird Sound to a safer anchorage for the night but at 05:30 will return to,  hopefully,  complete the Bird Island relief and then proceed to King Edward Point,  South Georgia to complete their relief on Monday.  The opening of Signy and the base relief of the small islands is a hectic time for those on the JCR and the passage back to Stanley will offer a welcome break.

Noon Position Report Saturday 11th November 2017 

Latitude: 53 09.9 S
Longitude: 038 05.9 W
Bearing: 184 T, 1 Nm from Bird Island

 

Previous updates from the current trip.

Previous updates from my last  trip,  to the Arctic in the summer of 2017

Mike Gloistein
gm0hcq @ gm0hcq.com