The snowy, windy weather has continued this week, but this has not stopped the team from getting on with some outside jobs. Michael and Ylva dug some more trenches and sorted out the cables for the web cam and anemometer and everybody joined in with the challenging task of getting the cables through the conduits. Ylva even climbed to the top of the anemometer tower to put the restored anemometer and wind vane in place. We are all hoping to see some record wind speeds to reward our efforts!
Indoor work has also been ongoing, Rachel got stuck in to the electrics in Bransfield House, assisted by David, a passenger from the Ushuaia who kindly took some time out of his honeymoon to install a socket in the base leader's office and the workshop. After the Ushuaia had departed with David safely back on board, Rachel put her new electrical expertise to use in the shop where she successfully put in another socket for the credit card machine. Michael has made some useful shelves in the bedroom of the Nissen hut, Kath has been busy painting in the ionospherics room, whilst Cat has been artistically photographing artefacts for the museum guide. Claire has done a great job of sorting out the stock for the shop, making sure that everything is accessible to allow for swift restocking during our upcoming busy period.
Cat managed to get a little break from all the hard work on Friday when she popped down to the boatshed to get some stock. She had a quick chat to Rachel who was down there packing up equipment to take down to Wordie. After rummaging for t-shirts at the back of the shed, she discovered that Rachel had gone and the door had been bolted from the outside... Fortunately she was freed by Kath before frostbite had a chance to set in.
The wind really picked up on Tuesday afternoon and a visit from L'Austral had to be abandoned half-way through, much to the disappointment of the passengers. They were all rushed off the island, some without even the chance to send a postcard. Luckily, amid all the panic, they didn't forget to return Cat who had gone on board to give a talk, and she had an exciting (and rather wet) zodiac trip back to base. The following afternoon, the sun came out and the wind dropped. To avoid the threat of mutiny on L'Austral, the Captain decided to return to Port Lockroy and give the passengers another chance to visit, about which they were all delighted.
There has been lots of interesting wildlife about this week. At low tide on Thursday, Claire spotted a jellyfish lying in a rockpool, luminous stripes pulsating up and down it's body. We also had a visiting Adelie penguin which looked a little confused as it wandered up and down the island, surrounded by the Gentoos. On the way out to one of the ships, Cat and Kath were lucky enough to encounter a beautiful Crabeater seal resting on a slab of sea ice. There have also been some Kelp gull nests discovered by Michael.
On Friday evening, Ylva served up delicious Feuerzangenbowle – gluhwein topped with flaming, rum-soaked sugar. Lacking her usual Feuerzangenbowle equipment, Ylva ingeniously improvised a stand for the large sugar cone, made out of steel joist hangers which did the job perfectly. We all went to bed feeling wonderfully warmed.
Celebrations continued on Saturday evening as the team were invited for dinner on the super-yacht Hanse Explorer. The night flew by as we enjoyed amazing sushi, fine wine and great company. We were delivered back to base along with a generous box of fresh bread, eggs and fruit with enough time to get a little sleep before it was Hanse's turn to visit us in the morning.