Stonington Diaries week 7

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

12 February 2018
Base E Journal

More wind and drift today in fact the outside of the engine room has an enormous bank of drift for the first time since December. In the afternoon Tonkin and Randall went over to Neny on skis to make ice observations and returned with the news that there is a lead about 15 miles wide beyond Neny Island. Ronne rang me up to tell me that an American ice breaker which is about 1100 miles west of here is coming in to break up the ice for the Port of Beaumont to get out.

#StoningtonDiaries

12 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

The British team who carefully packed up Stonington's Base 'E' in 1975 did an extremely thorough job. They didn't leave a great many artefacts behind, but for the next four weeks, Lizzie will be working her way through every room, methodically recording and photographing the items remaining. The base has lost many of the personalised touches we see in the historic photographs, but today a couple of treats - a note in the kitchen from the storeman 'No more bulk milk chaps', and this charming and hopefully Scottish label in the cutlery drawer.

#StoningtonDiaries

13 February 1948
Base E Journal

Still blowing pretty hard but it seems to make little difference to the ice, in fact the area of open water in front of the Base has frozen over again to such an extent that it is now possible to walk on it. Tonkin and Elliott took the latter’s team out to train a new leader which we are providing from our pups. Adie returned from a 2 day trip to Neny Fjord most of the time he was unable to do any work owing to the wind.

#StoningtonDiaries

13 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

As my Mum kindly reminded me by email today, it's Shrove Tuesday. Whilst isolated on Stonington Island it can be difficult to remember special dates or even what day it is. They all seem to blur into one somehow. She suggested that maybe Toby could make us pancakes so, for first break, that is what he did. His pancake flipping skills aren't too bad and I actually managed to capture one on camera (after several attempts).

Joanna 

14 February 1948
Base E Journal

Spent morning cleaning up hut and area. Surveyors busy with reports and copying our field sheets. 

#StoningtonDiaries

14 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

Another misty morning at Stonington Island, grey and gloomy with temperatures around zero degrees Celsius. As the Antarctic summer can also be quite nice and sunny, we brought with us two large solar panels this year. The plan was  to test them out and hopefully be able to help the generator by supplying the camp with electricity. The panels are mounted and weighted down on the outside of the Weather Haven tent, with a control panel and connectors on the inside. As it turns out, this has been more effective than we had anticipated. It seems to provide us with plenty of solar energy, even on overcast days such as today. It has in fact taken over the need for a generator, which has now been completely retired from camp. Here, Jo is 'enjoying' an outdoor work session, using the laptop charged by renewable energy. 

Toby, UKAHT Explorer, Stonington Island, Antarctica

15 February 1948
The Base E Journal

Sunday again and a quiet day except for the rattle of typewriters making reports and the fact that the table in the living room was spread with fieldsheets being copied.

15 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

“Today you finally had an audience who listened” Lizzie told me and she was correct as the Expedition made it through the ice to stand off close by our Island, bringing 138 new faces to our Island. A quick and exciting zodiac ride soon landed the visitors who delighted at seeing the huts, a Leopard seal and the NE glacier in all their glory, today it really was Stunning-ton! Adjectives resounded as the guests enjoyed the visit and in return our team enjoyed a ship excursion with a special BBQ, drinks and a chance to watch the partial eclipse and sun set from the deck.

Michael

16 February 1948
Base E Journal

This morning, in fact, all day, the rattle of two-fingered typing has reached such deafening proportions that glasses fell off shelves and the vibration caused the seismograph to record a bad earthquake. All available floor space was covered with bodies tracing maps, varying from the neat precision of our three surveyors, to the drunken spider blotches of the amateur enthusiasts and press gang victims.

#StoningtonDiaries 

16 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

With the arrival of another ship yesterday we have seen yet another abundance of wildlife on the island. Adelie penguin numbers are increasing as they come further ashore to moult ready for their Winter plumage, there are now feathers everywhere. With the constant calving of the glacier and very little wind over the past few days the island is now surrounded by brash ice and ice bergs upon which we have seen large numbers of seals, taking it easy and soaking up the sun. By far the most exciting spotting came yesterday as we made our way across the water in the zodiac to the cruise ship... a large leopard seal! Toby had been waiting for this the whole season and whether he admits it or not, I definitely saw tears in his eyes!  Joanna

17 February 1948
Base E Journal

More hard work on reports and maps. Nothing else to report except a general feeling of anxiety as to whether Biscoe would get down here in time.

#StoningtonDiaries

17 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

Soused Herrings anyone? Just one of the recipes from Gerald Cutland's 'Fit for a FID' cooking book, which he wrote in 1957 when stationed as an Antarctic chef. In case you are wondering, that's tinned herring in an onion, bay leaf and vinegar bake. Gerald understood how much food affects morale in harsh environments, and was determined to get the best out of his team by making the tinned food as exciting as possible. In those days, he was also able to supplement the menu with local wildfoods: seal, penguin, cormorant and even the occasional fresh fish. These indigenous inhabitants are now all protected under the Antarctic treaty so definitely not on our menu. As I work my way through cataloguing the tins of 1970's food in the Base E store, I can see the same sorts of foods he had to work with in 1957, and which we now have in our modern supplies. If only our oven wasn't broken we could souse some herrings. Maybe we'll have sautéed herring on crackers....

18 February 1948
Base E Journal

Heard today that American icebreakers are coming in tomorrow or morning of 20th and it seems that Ronne is in a great hurry to get our of here although I have asked him if at all possible to delay his departure until Biscoe gets within reasonable range.

#StoningtonDiaries

 

18 February 2018
Base E Conservation Team

Yesterday we were once again joined by the Fram and a new group of visitors to the island who very much enjoyed looking around the historic bases. Some even enjoyed a spot of kayaking between the icebergs - an activity that I am extremely envious of. For a change Geoff and I held the Post Office onboard which proved to be extremely successful and afterwards the whole team were invited on board for dinner and showers. As has become our normal routine, at the end of the day we held a Q&A session which was once again very well received and, for the second time, were joined for the night by a group of campers. A highlight of the day was finally receiving our cheese which has been floating around on board for the past 2 weeks and, being presented with a bag of freshly baked bread. This was a real treat and we made the most of it today on our day off. For dinner Lizzie made us Macaroni Cheese.... heaven!!

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

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