December 2018: MUSEUM ASSISTANT LAURA HAS MUCH TO REPORT ON THE TURN OF THE YEAR
This month has flown by as we’ve been kept busy with ship visits, local events, church services, some brilliant Christmas and New Year festivities and even a long awaited holiday for the team!
At the beginning of the month we waved off the previous BAS wintering team who were all heading home after a year or even two years being here at King Edward Point. However, the island didn’t stay quiet for too long as just before Christmas, the Government Fisheries Vessel Pharos SG brought along lots of new faces, all here for a couple of months to continue their scientific research ranging from the Southern Right Whale project to microplastics and the weed eradication team.
Whilst we’ve had lots of ships visit, we’ve managed to snatch a few sunny hours to work on the maintenance of some of the artefacts outside of the museum which have a big ‘check up’ every few years as well as working on the cemetery fence. To be able to work outside in the sun listening to the wildlife with an incredible backdrop is something so special that not many people can call their ‘office’ so we are constantly reminded of how lucky we really are to be here.
As a local community we hold social events for each other and we decided to combine the Christmas decorating of the church with an evening BBQ. Everyone arrived keen to transform the church and nibble away on mince pies, sausage rolls and mulled wine. Once the church was twinkling we all headed down into the whaling station for a BBQ under the old meat loft which was very atmospheric and tasty too! Since the church has been decorated, it has been host to two Christmas services by MV Bremen on Christmas Eve and MV Ocean Endeavour on Christmas Day, as well as a proposal, so it is a special place for many people this season!
Due to the busy schedule around Christmas we started our celebrations early on the 22nd with our locals Christmas meal so that we could all be there together as on Christmas Day we had MV Ocean Endeavour visit for the whole day. The building team have been working hard on their days off to make a pizza oven that can cook pizzas in 90 seconds and Christmas Day was the inauguration with pizzas being made from lunchtime onwards. As we were busy with the ship visit we were very lucky to be delivered our very own pizzas by quad bike that were still lovely and warm (who knew we had our own pizza delivery on South Georgia!) It was such a lovely day that we whiled away the last few hours of Christmas by a fire staring out at the starry night sky, no better way to spend Christmas!
Boxing Day proved to be a windier day but with our second biggest ship of the season visiting we were ready early in the morning to welcome 450 passengers onshore throughout the course of the day. Some of our team and others from the BAS team went on board to give presentations on our work and the science at KEP, others volunteered to help run an on-board shop, whilst the rest of us manned the fort at Grytviken. Towards the end of their visit, the wind increased out in the bay with gusts of up to 60 knots so it meant that for a few hours we had 104 passengers and crew stranded in the museum. Extra chairs were brought in, mugs were found from every cupboard and all the kettles in Grytviken were rounded up so that everyone could have a cup of tea/ coffee whilst they waited out the weather. Luckily the wind died down so they were shuttled back to the ship and our team were brought back to the island (it was hard for them being on the ship all day with tasty coffee and fresh food!) but we had been getting ready to cook dinner for 104 and have them overnight in the museum (our very own ‘Night in the Museum’!)Our final celebration of the month was a brilliant way to see in the New Year as we all gathered around a fire with the clear sky changing from a beautiful sunset to starry and then an amazing sunrise, couldn’t get much better than that! Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year filled with lots of exciting adventures from everyone here at Grytviken!