Stonington Diaries week 1

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

01 January
Base E Journal

In order to conserve strength for the long and arduous year ahead, breakfast was served by Jones, who was king enough to make it. At 1100 hrs local time, we all got up and sallied forth about our various tasks. Stonehouse went to the Red Rock Ridge by air, to study the habits of the carious citizens. He has over 60 days of food with him,. And expects to be joined by Latady RARE in a few days.

 

#StoningtonDiaries 

02 January 1948
Base E Journal

I forgot to mention that yesterday Pirate welcomed the New Year with a litter of 7 pups; 3 dogs and 4 bitches. We killed the bitches immediately, and one of the dogs died in the night. This has been brought to mind by the fact that today Kitten has done all she can and produced 2 dogs and 2 bitches. The bitches went the same way as the others.

#StoningtonDiaries

02 January 2018
Base E Conservation Team

Well, after two weeks of hard work by Torbjørn and Michael preparing all of our stores in Stanley ready for our field season at Stonington, the rest of the team arrived on 23rd Dec (via a brief, hot and sunny stop in Santiago) in time to help with the final work tasks and to celebrate Christmas and New Year together. 

On our few days off we squeezed in a trip to Volunteer Point to see the Penguins, Boxing Day horse racing, sheep shearing competition, raft racing and numerous scenic walks. On New Year's Day we were welcomed onto HMS Protector and after being shown to our cabins (Jo is particularly impressed with her large private cabin next to the captain) we all settled in for the evening.

After weeks and months of planning, we finally set sail for our journey South at 4.30pm on 2nd Jan.

#StoningtonDiaries

03 January 1948
Base E Journal

This morning we barrack-room sported to some effect. There were only three of us available, so we started on the living room and then went on to the workshop and Nissen. Then we did the kitchen, porch and finally drained and cleaned the water tank in the kitchen. In the afternoon, Butson and Ronkin staggered over the hill to the water hole with about 90 yards of piping.

#StoningtonDiaries

03 January 2018
Base E Conservation Team

We're underway - rocking and rolling across the Drakes Passage in the great southern ocean. 

We have left port in the Falklands and are now experiencing our first full day at sea and thankfully it's a relatively calm one with just a gentle swell to rock us to sleep rather than the gales we had anticipated. Fingers crossed it stays this way and we can keep hold of the great food we have been served so far on board. What will tomorrow's weather bring....? Our work today has included checking all of our supplies onboard HMS Protector.

#StoningtonDiaries

04 January 1948
The Base E Journal

This morning, Butson and Tonkin man hauled another 50 gal drum of water from the water hole. The rest of the morning and afternoon were taken up by sundry fiddly jobs such as scrubbing the bathroom floor, the met., signals, pup feeding, photography, washing clothes and attending to the greenhouse. 

#StoningtonDiaries

Photo of Butson 1948 has been reproduced courtesy of the British Antarctic Survey Archives Service ©Crown

 

04 January 2018
Base E Conservation Team

We are having a wonderfully smooth crossing of the Drakes Passage with some glorious sunshine and sunsets. After a team review of our Operations Manual and preparing our presentation for the Ship's Company, we have spent some time on the bridge today where we have spotted several whales (Minke we think) and a number of birds (various petrels). Tonight we will have a second movie night in my cabin.

We really are having an amazing adventure and we've not even arrived at Stonington yet.

Joanna

05 January 1948
Base E Journal

We got up at 0730 local time this morning in case Freeman and the Hope bay party turned up. The day was overcast, and we didn’t expect them, but they had said they would be here at 0900hrs, and then Tonkin went out to do the met. There they were at the aviation hut on the glacier and starting the last run down. The four from hope bay looked very fit and in various stages of sunburn (some peeling and some peeled). 

#StoningtonDiaries

05 January 2018
Base E Conservation Team

Awoke to the view of the South Shetland Islands looming on the horizon, it felt good to see land again after several days at sea. This land was no longer familiar landscape, it looked cold and stark with no trees or grasses to soften the environment, only bare dark rock blanketed in snow and glaciers, brrrrr, welcome to Antarctica! The weather remains calm but it has changed over night while we slept to a "grey on grey" moody, gloomy day with low cloud and lightly falling snow cloaking the island.
We bid farewell to our newly found British Antarctic Survey friends who were dropped off on the Island for several months to undertake a penguin survey. Our team closely listened to their briefings and watched the zodiac boat transfer with a keen  interest as we will be undertaking a similar operation in several days time. With the transfer successfully completed we continue South taking the opportunity to review our risk assessment documents.

06 January 1948
Base E Journal

It has been a miserable day as far as the weather is concerned. We had breakfast at 0900 hrs to give the sledging party a rest, but as they were all awake at about 0600 as sledging types always are and always will be, when they get back to base, then we once more proved that the whole business is really an excuse of those staying at base to get a little more sleep. Dog feeding, shelf putting-up and bathing were the chief features, with barbering and dentistry going on as a quiet side line. Jones has come off cook and wishes us all to know that he is very glad. Twink, who is Pirate’s sister, produced 4 dog pups this morning, all of which are fine healthy little beasts and brown and white in colour. 

#StoningtonDiaries

06 January 2018
Base E Conservation Team

Today we saw our first iceberg. For many of the team this was a new experience and a reminder of colder days to come. It's mind blowing to think that 90% of the iceberg sits below the water and that this was once a part of the great ice sheet of Antarctica. With deteriorating weather forecast, the team have become anxious and some have gone to visit the ships doctor for seasickness medication. We'll keep you posted!

07 January 1948
Base E Journal

The sledging party spent a lot of the time sorting out the gear on their sledges, and generally settling in. McLeod is taking on the met. in Stonehouses absence, and Buston has gone on cook. The stamp account was cleared up to 31 December. 

#StoningtonDiaries

07 January 2018
Base E Conservation Team

Today we got involved with the photography course that was being held on board! We used our new skills to snap pictures of the icebergs. Lots of fun!!

#StoningtonDiaries

Read next week's blog

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

Subscribe to our newsletter

Submit

Press Enquiries

We are very keen to promote the important heritage work that we do, telling the story of life in Antarctica both past and present. If you are interested in running a story about us, using our images or films or want to discuss an interview or potential collaboration opportunity we would love to hear from you.  Please contact either Sarah or Lewis at Limewash to discuss your requirements sarah@limewash.co.uk or +44 (0)1223 813 557.