Stonington Diaries week 6

As our team are conserving Base E on Stonington Island we will be updating live diary entries from the team. #StoningtonDiaries will keep you up to date with what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen with this remarkable base. 

All images from 1948 have been reproduced courtesy of the British Antarctic Survey Archives Service. © Crown

05 February 2018
Base E Journal

Weather much improved today, a party consisting of Walton, Butson and McLeod took a team over to Neny Fjord to do some skiing and returned very late in the evening having had a rather disappointing day owing to bad surfaces. In the morning Thomson and I took a walk to the top of the glacier to make an ice observation, the ice is still solid to about 1 mile beyond Neny Island. Finished off the general report for all Bases and hope to get on with Base E report soon.

#StoningtonDiaries

05 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

Michael and Geoff have made fantastic progress today removing ice that had built up in the pup pens. There are 6 doors to the building, 4 of which were entombed in the ice. These have now been freed with hard work and determination resulting in some very achy arms. Recovering the doors means they can now be re-hung and, along with some re-felting emergency repairs, the pens will once again be weathertight keeping them ice free until we can return again. In the process, some lengths of thick canvas were found which could possibly be leads, we will ask Lizzie to look at them. A final comment from Geoff was that 'there is a distinct aroma of dog in there now'.

#StoningtonDiaries

06 February 1948
Base E Journal

Overcast most of the day with intermittent snow, boats and boat’s gear being overhauled. More work on reports.

#StoningtonDiaries

06 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

After one of our dining chairs collapsed with Geoff on it a week or so ago, we have been making do by sitting on our plastic food boxes. As Toby had a few minutes spare this afternoon he took the opportunity to make a new one in true FIDS style by salvaging some components from the broken chair and using some of the timber off cuts. Here he is modelling it outside the 1965 extension of Base E. As I write this diary I am using the chair and so far, so good! Joanna

#StoningtonDiaries

07 February 1948
Base E Journal

 There was no entry in the Base Journal for this date. Must have been a pyjama day...

07 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

Just after lunchtime today I heard a loud sound coming from the camp area. As I walked over to investigate further, I noticed a characteristic shape just behind my tent. An Adelie penguin was standing in the background looking over my tent, as if he was standing guard. I am currently reading a book about the early days of Stonington Island called 'Two Years in Antarctica' by Kevin Walton, in which they claim that penguins react to the name George. I saw this as a good chance to test the theory and as he was obviously trying to get my attention, I shouted 'George, how did you end up here?' back to him. As the book suggested, the reaction was instant and he squawked back at me like it was just the word he was waiting for.

Toby

08 February 1948
The Base E Journal

 There was no entry in the Base Journal for this date. Must have been a pyjama day...

08 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

After weeks of not being able to make bread due to our slightly faulty oven, Tim from the office in Cambridge sent us some recipes for making bread in a pan on the hob. Tonight Toby tested out his culinary skills by making Chappatis to go with our chicken curry and rice. It was a real treat! We all agreed they were the best Chappatis we'd ever had on Stonington Island ;-)

#StoningtonDiaries 

09 February 1948
Base E Journal

Snowed heavily all day, temperature was much lower and in consequence it was still quite deep in the evening. Everybody working on reports. Spoke to Slessor on R/T on Biscoe, I told him my opinion regarding leaving Robin and Ewer on Coronation, which I personally think is utter madness, who is responsible for this crazy scheme of leaving 2 men on the glaciated and mountainous island should in my opinion be left there himself. Robin is no mountaineer and should either get into trouble the other could do absolutely nothing to save him.

#StoningtonDiaries

09 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

Today Toby and I have been carrying out paint sampling in the Main Hut. The interiors at Base E were finished and decorated by the men that occupied the hut and tended to be in bold colours. Colour schemes were regularly changed resulting in many layers of paint in different colours. Unfortunately today, some of the paint schemes are deteriorating with many layers peeling away. By taking samples we will be able to create a record of all of the historic paint schemes and will also be able to analyse them in order to find matching paint colours for possible future conservation repairs. So far we have collected 77 samples from the interior of the hut. Here is Toby taking a sample from the porch at the main entrance.

Joanna

10 February 1948
Base E Journal

Weather cleared today with some win and a little drift by afternoon the snow was once again thawing. Still no sign of the ice breaking up, although this wind should do some good. Biscoe arrived at Signy Island at 9:30 p.m.

#StoningtonDiaries

10 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

A stormy day to end a big week here on Stonington Island. Last Sunday the Fram anchored nearby, and as well as carrying c.250 passengers here to visit the historic bases, the ship brought us the newest member of our team, Lizzie. Departing on the same vessel, were Al and Nathan - whilst we were sad to see them go they seemed to be smiling very happily as they headed towards showers and fresh food. Outside work has focussed on removing ice from and re-cladding the husky pup-pen shed. Inside Base E was suddenly a hive of activity, as Jo and Toby collected specifications for each room and carried out paint sampling, whilst Lizzie completed artefact cataloguing and assessment for the lower west end of the building. The sound of snow on the tents woke us this morning, and the day has been dark and blustery, keeping us indoors typing up reports. A brief clearance this afternoon saw us head up to Flagstaff Point to take a team photo and watch the sunbeams lighting up Millerand Island.

11 February 1948
Base E Journal

Another very windy day although no snow there was quite a lot of drift. Everyone still busy on reports especially the surveyors who are working up the results of the various trips. In the evening went to see film show at the American camp and I had a long session in the Ronnes’ shack, known to all of us as the ‘Sweatbox” because the temperature seldom is allowed to drop below 90 deg Fah.

#StoningtonDiaries

 

11 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

After yesterday's storm which brought strong winds and driven snow we were all greatly relieved to wake up to a clear, sunny and still Sunday - our one day of rest each week.  Michael and Geoff decided to do a low tide waters edge circumnavigation of the island in the morning and discovered that we were entirely surrounded by icebergs and brash ice which was the results of last night's very loud calvings from the North East Glacier which used to connect our island to the Antarctic Peninsula.  The ever-changing shapes which the ice contorts to as it breaks up and bumps into each other or against the shore never ceases to amaze us - today's best example being an almost perfect 6foot in diameter ball of ice which had been left high and dry by the falling tide.  other highlights of the day included the re-location of Lizzie's tent which had taken on an ever increasingly drastic lean as the snow/ice field where we camp continues to melt in our warm late summer days and a trip to our local multi-plex cinema - aka the weather haven tent.  The day was capped off with Geoff's salami and bean stew which came out surprisingly well considering what went into it!

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Read what the team got up to in week seven of their journey

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