54 17'S 036 30'W. South Georgia, Southern Ocean.

Follow Matt Kenney during his deployment in South Georgia, working as a Boating Officer and Coxswain for the British Antarctic Survey.

Read Matt's posts with news, reviews and extracts from his Journals, and see photo and video posts to show you some of the work the Antarctic Survey are doing in the Southern Ocean, and also provide an insight into life on a British Antarctic research station.

Matt will also provide accounts of his work at sea and ashore on Humber Destroyer RHIBs and 11m twin jet drive Pilot vessels along side the team at the King Edward Point research facility.

Matt arrived in South Georgia on the 28th October 2010.

Monday, 27 December 2010

My Photo Galleries

Hi guys!

Just a quick note that my Picasa web gallery of photos, including ones from past blog posts can be found here.  I will put a permanent link on the homepage this week, so hopefully my photos can be found more easily.  If you like, you can add the page to your favourites.

If you are interested in any of my photographs for commercial reasons (although there is no reason why you would be!) then please email me with your enquiries.

Thanks again for all your nice emails over the christmas period, I promise more regular updates in the new year, and there will be plenty of exciting things to tell you about this year!!!

Cheers all,

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas from South Georgia!

Christmas is here, in case you had forgotten (like me) and this will be a quick post to tell everyone back home that I miss you all, and all of us here wish you all in snowy (slushy?) UK a very happy Christmas.  To all my friends at Her Majesties Coastguard, I am with you comrades... they dont know how big a mistake they are making.

Meet the crowd:
From left to right:
Bottom row: Alastair Wilson (Predator Scientist), Kieron Fraser (Government Officer), Matt Holmes (Facilities Engineer), Tommy Whitfield (Electro - Technical engineer), Dr Samantha Crimmin (guess),

Top row:  Rob Webster (Base Commander), Matt Kenney (Sea Gypsy), Ashley Perrin (Senior Boating Officer), John Ashburner (Predator Scientist), Katie Brigden (Fisheries Biologist), Ruth Fraser (SGHT), Pat Lurcock (Government Officer), Sarah Lurcock (general good egg and Post Master)

Happy Xmas and a cracking New year to all!!  Thanks for your continued interest and support.


Sunday, 12 December 2010

Mount Hodges and Orca

Yesterday, Tommy, Alistair, Lyndsay and I took a trek up to Mount Hodges.  Hodges is one of the highest summits in our permitted travel limits, and is the South-Western gatepost to the Bore Valley, which meanders to the North, eventually leading to Maiviken.
Shackleton pose at the summit of Orca!
We approached the ascent from the South, climbing to Gull Lake from the abandoned whaling station, and then climbing coarse scree adjacent to the entrance to Hodges Bowl, and winding round to the western face of Orca. Orca is a smaller mountain, located just to the South of Hodges.  It is a relatively easy ascent, although the western face is steep, and the scree is loose in places.  The summit offers not only an excellent place to stop for lunch, but a detailed view of the ascent to Hodges summit.  From Orca, it looks steep, and that's because it is.
It took us three and a half hours to summit, and the breathtaking views made up for the high winds blowing the snow cap into our eyes and our camera lenses!
The descent was forged by instinct, and we found a steep, but direct route back to sea level down the eastern face.  We even found some steep snow down a gully, which was icy and fairly compact... ideal for a bit of bare back sledding... The drop was perhaps 50 feet, and there was the odd rock to avoid but it was great fun!
Heres some pics as usual...

Hodges summit

Timer and Tripod group photo - hodges summit

Showing the petrel mountains and the Alardyce range in the background

Orca - Cumberland East bay in the background

Along the ridge to the west from Hodges.

Saturday, 11 December 2010


Monday morning will see the departure of the outgoing team.  Over the last few weeks, we have become very close; so to loose them will be hard.  On the positive side, it will relieve the base somewhat and give us some more space.  In addition, for most, particularly the ones who have wintered twice now, the time is apparently right, although emotions are irrevocably mixed.
Returning to KEP in the sunshine.
Now that all duties are being dealt with by us and the "handover" is officially complete, the outgoing wintering staff have some time to enjoy themselves a little.  Holidays away from base are a great opportunity to see a bit more of SG, and make the most of their last weeks on the island.  At the beginning of this week, they all got together to go on a camping trip to the Barff Peninsular.  The barff forms the Eastern most landmass segregating Cumberland Bay East from the ferocious Southern Ocean.  It is only accessible (bar a week or so's walk) via boat, so enter the boating officers, and their trainee crews!  It was a lovely sunny, crisp morning that we launched the Rib and cast the jet launches lines and headed for the bay.  The weather was perfect, although to the east end there was a reasonable swell signifying offshore gales out into the Ocean.  The party was dropped at Corale bay.  The beach there is good for landing the Ribs as it is fairly steep and soft, although at this time of year the north end is getting a bit "furry" (populated by Antarctic  Fur Seals - watch this space for more on these!) which makes landing potentially hazardous.  The team where ready with there bodgers just in case.  Heres some photos of the trip...

Monday, 6 December 2010

Journey South the movie!

Hi Guys.  Today I have finished producing my first movie on going south.  Its predominately an experiment with the program and to see what might work and what doesnt.

So here it is.  Its about 10 minutes long, and is just as much a playlist of some of my favorite songs, as a collection of mediocre photographs....

I hope you enjoy it....

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Operation La Boreal.....

Here are some photos from a particularly nice evening trip to Stromness in the extended limit to meet the Tourist ship LA BOREAL.  She is a French flagged vessel and it is her first time to South Georgia, therefore the Governement officers need to board her to check all is in order and to observe her crew giving passengers briefs before going ashore.  There is, as I have eluded to in earlier posts, lots of information to pass to them to not only protect South Georgia but to protect the tourists from harm as well.  Incidentally our Doctor had to carry out an XRay on a woman in her 50s last week because she had broken her arm while fleeing from an aggressive male Fur Seal.

Check out the pics.....

Friday, 3 December 2010

Home sweet home

Firstly, a big apology for not being up to date.  Its been a very eventful 2 weeks, and the station has been busy.  This has lead to impossibly slow internet, little time, and also a bout of man-flu!

I thought today I would answer a request for a bit of a virtual tour of the base, and show you how we live at KEP.  

The JCB telehandler with Luna attached
The base is currently home to BAS staff old and new (the out-going staff are here for a few more weeks) the government officers Keiron and Pat and their wives Ruth and Sarah, who are themselves gainfully employed with running the post office and working for the South Georgia Heritage trust respectively, the build team from the Falklands who are refurbishing an accommodation block at Grytviken, the Museum staff from the the Heritage trust, and one or two others.  We have also been playing host to other visitors, including tourists off the expedition ships, and visiting yachtsmen.  It is great having so many like minded people in one place, and everyone is genuinely excellent to talk to as there is a wealth of knowledge, experience and character in everybody.

Luna and Alert in the Boatshed
This does, I hope go some way to explaining why my communications have been delayed.  The internet link is very weak and the speeds are archaic, so with so many people wanting to use it, things can get very difficult.  It is a sentiment that rings true throughout King Edward Point, as without discipline and routine, things could easily get out of hand.  

My work at present is divided into coxswain duties, lots and lots of instructing to other base members and carrying out repairs and keeping up with a stringent maintenance schedule. Ashley and I have an office in the Cook Labs and we also have a working office in the corner of the boatshed (see pic) The evenings are spent in the lounge usually, and weekends see the bar get used (!) there is a dart board and things too, so it doubles as a social club.  We have had some great nights so far....

Expedition tourist ships are a feature of Summer here.
Our impact on the environment is key to the work BAS undertakes in the Antarctic regions, so recycling and waste management is an important feature.  Each item of waste is broken down into its component materials if possible, and segregated for loading on to ships periodically.  Very little of our rubbish goes to landfill.  It is also important that we recycle for other reasons.  Spare parts are easy to order via BAS HQ, however, it takes months, or in some cases a year or more for the parts to arrive.  For example, I have today finished repairing a smashed VHF aerial which was broken a long while ago.  In a UK yard, it is almost certain the aerial would be thrown away, but a few hours work and some glass fibre and she will do well on the spares shelf!

Prion in the boatshed for Jet maintenence
 We each take it in turn to manage cooking and cleaning.  We run an earlies and lates rota.  Earlies see you up at about 6am, you will start to make the daily bread,and while to dough is "proving" your off around the site doing safety checks.  The checks are looking for anything out of the ordinary, or hazardous,eg a leak, something overheating, a door or window left open (the winds in South Georgia can be extremely fierce and gust out of no where) etc.  General tidying up follows, the bread is baked in time for breakfast, then you turn your mind to dinner.  On early shift its your job to cook an evening meal.  Its up to you what you make, and it can be as extravagant or as basic as you like.  Its a challenge right now as you can be cooking for 20+ people, and everything is made from scratch.  If you want garlic bread to go with your lasagne, then you need to make it.  Theres cookbooks on every type of food of course, so never short of inspiration.  Nigella everytime!  Brownie points for original ideas, or for ticking off another country in the "conquer the culinary world" competition set up by the doc.  The obvious ones (Italy, France, India etc) have gone.  Turkmenistan and Yemen may prove harder!
Our boatshed office
The Bar!

Matt Kenney 2010.