The November SG Museum blog was written by Lauren Elliott – Retail Manager.
To give you a true insight into life on island, I am cosy inside writing this, whilst outside the snow is coming down and the winds are gusting 65 knots! This summer season has seen a lot more snowfall than last year and we have been treated with giant icebergs in the bay since we arrived.
November saw us welcome over 2000 visitors to Grytviken. During one ship visit, a gathering of Elephant Seal weaners (pups) blocked the front steps to the museum for the entire day. So as not to disturb the wildlife, we made alternative arrangements so over 200 guests could enter the museum through a small side door instead. The weaners very kindly all dispersed as soon as the last guests left the island.
We waved goodbye to our curator Jayne (and her incredible Barra Brith cakes) earlier this month. Before she left, she and Helen planned updates to the museum for this season, one of which is to install the beautiful new display panels. In rare quiet moments Helen began hanging the new panels; one particularly interesting one displays a whaler’s version of the Ten Commandments written by a whaler overwintering at Leith Harbour in 1956:
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (SOUTH GEORGIA VERSION)
1) Thou shalt not steal (chops)
2) Thou shalt not harbour any heaters in thy Cabin nor in thy Mates cabin
3) Thou shalt not complain about Mail
4) Thou shalt not turn thy nose up at meat balls
5) Thou shalt not curse the cook nor his staff nor anyone within his galley
6) Thou shalt not use the eng(ineers) W.C. (toilet)
7) Thou shalt not throw residue of meals out thy Cabin window, nor from out thy mates cabin window
8) Thou shalt not feed Seagulls
9) Thou shalt not make nor consume “Home Brew” in thy Cabin nor in thy mates cabin
10) Thou shalt not enjoy thyself at all
And on the seventh day they all died a horrible death. AMEN.
Things have changed since the 50’s in South Georgia, but there are still unofficial rules on the island, so below are ten commandments that have more relevance to life on base today:
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (SOUTH GEORGIA VERSION 2023)
1) Thou shalt honour the sacred Mac and Cheese Mondays
2) Thou shalt not take all the stations freshies for themselves but also not abandon the freshies so they go mouldy.
3) Thou shalt not complain about mail (this one still stands it won’t speed things up no matter how many times you mention the parcel you are waiting for)
4) Thou shalt not turn thy nose up at Nido (milk powder)
5) Thou shalt not eat all one’s rations during the first week of the month
6) Thou must always make an “All Stations” call on the radio when exciting wildlife is observed around station
7) Thou must exercise caution around male fur seals and politely ‘choof’ back a greeting when passing them on the track
8) Thou shalt always feed the Techies at Wednesday smoko
9) Thou shalt not complain about the cardboard wine in the bar
10) Thou shalt have a fabulous season
And on the seventh day they all put the kettle on and had another cup of tea. Amen.
A common question we got asked by the many visitors this month was “What do you do when you aren’t working?” This month saw a camping trip with old and new BAS (British Antarctic Survey) folks by Lancetes Lake, big hiking adventures, dinner parties and some frantic postcard writing a few hours before the postal deadline. Time goes past quickly on this island so we know we must make the most of every spare minute that we have.
South Georgia has no native population, so each season members of SGHT, GSGSSI and BAS all come together to make an unconventional family. So, we must make a special mention to the outgoing BAS team. Thank you for all your help and energy both this and last season; from moving cargo, to taking down signs, to delivering surprise hot cross buns and all the dinner invites when you know we have had a busy week with ships. You’ve all been incredible, and we wish you all the luck in the real world, and please enjoy all the freshies you can!