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April 2008: Curator’s Blog

Curator’s Blog – 23/4/2008

Photo: Miriam, John, Steve and Sarah just before our departure
Miriam, John, Steve and Sarah just before our departure

I can’t believe that it’s already a month since I left South Georgia but I am doing my best to settle back into city life. My time on the island passed so quickly and I must admit it would have been much harder to leave if I did not know I would be returning once more in October. There was a beautiful sunset the night before our departure which was the perfect ending to our stay.

Photo: Sunset on our last night
Sunset on our last night

I was accompanied by Museum Assistant John and Taxidermist Steve onboard the Minerva to enjoy a trip back to Stanley in luxury. Unfortunately the weather was particularly bad on the way home and I spent much of my time in my cabin. The highlight of the trip was the chance to visit Fortuna Bay where there is a colony of around 4,000 king penguins.

Photo: King penguin colony at Fortuna
King penguin colony at Fortuna

It was here that I saw the fattest penguins I’d ever seen and also a herd of reindeer for the first time since my arrival. There were also a large number of Wandering Albatross following the ship which were a delight to watch. Museum Manager, Miriam and Assistant Sarah stayed on to complete the stock taking and welcome our last ship the Bark Europawhich we met when visiting Fortuna. They left a week later on the Fisheries Patrol Vessel and unlike us enjoyed very good conditions for their voyage.

During our last few weeks Steve completed his Wandering Albatross specimen which really looks remarkable. Space permitting the new piece will take up residence in the Maritime Gallery next season. He also completed a snow petrel before leaving and seeing them both in his workshop was great as you could really appreciate the difference in size.

Since my arrival in Scotland things have been non stop, catching up with SGHT, visiting friends and family and conditioning myself to work successfully from home. I believe motivation is the key! Museum work continues with a huge amount of artefact information to be processed in order to create a database suitable for online use. This project will take a while but is incredibly worthwhile and will make the collection much more accessible. I will also be visiting a range of people who have artefacts related to South Georgia as well as doing a talk for the Salvesens ex whalers club in Edinburgh.

I brought a number of items back from South Georgia which will become part of an exhibition on Letters Patent at the Scott Polar Research Institute from 16 July. I believe the exhibition will then be touring to Discovery, Dundee and Hull. If you would like any further information check out: here

Photo: Wandering Albatross specimen with the Snow Petrel in background
Wandering Albatross specimen with the Snow Petrel in background



During the final visit of the cruise ship Hanseatic for the season they raised 1300 Euros for South Georgia Heritage Trust through the auction of a sea chart which was great news. A beautiful Albatross sculpture made by Steve Massam was also sold to a visitor from Corinthian II in the Museum for $10,000! This was a wonderful way to end the season, a big thank you to these very generous people.





Knowing how fast my time in South Georgia went I’m sure October will come round pretty quickly and I’ll be off South again!