Despatch No 48 -
62° 58 S
060° 33 W
View the up to date weather
satellite picture of the South Atlantic Ocean.
be wrong to claim that we have arrived because we have another 120 odd miles until our
final destination in the Gerlache Strait - the Danco coast of the Antarctic Peninsula we
have referred to so many times in our descriptions of what the Expedition is all about.
Nevertheless, for the moment John Laing is secure at anchor in the amazing Deception
Island, the dormant volcanic crater surrounded by 1000 ft peaks with just one narrow 250
metre breach in the battlements. This gap, "Neptunes Bellows"
named after the strong gusts that gust up in the narrows, is the gateway to an inland
lagoon; the crater of the volcano.
It was after midnight last night
that Windy Gale steered us through the imposing cliffs on either side while I nervously
checked charts and compasses to ensure avoidance of Raven Rock, an unseen but treacherous
rock situated right in the middle of the seemingly safest channel. Once through it is only
a short distance to the abandoned research and whaling site at Whalers bay; largely
destroyed by successive volcanic activity, but which offers reasonable shelter although
the seabed consists mostly of volcanic cinders and is not perfect for getting a secure
anchorage. Nevertheless with two anchors down and long long chains on each we felt
confident to commence a meal to celebrate safe arrival in the Antarctic.
storm force winds are forecast for Friday night and Saturday so our plan will be to
shelter here until they pass - we shall then make the final dash down towards the
Peninsula itself. In the meantime, Jim Wood our Expeditions scientific programme
co-ordinator has plans to rehearse the team in penguin counting and the other data
collection techniques we shall use in earnest at later stages of the trip - this will be a
dry run however - sample taking is strictly controlled under the terms of the
internationally recognised Antarctic Treaty and we shall only be doing so from specific
sites for which authorisation has been agreed in advance. Meanwhile we shall take the
opportunity to visit the Argentinean research station at the other end of the crater lake
and possibly move the yacht into a safer and more secure anchorage at the northern end of
the inland sea to await the passing of tomorrows storm.
"It was after
midnight last night that Windy Gale steered us through the imposing cliffs on either side
while I nervously checked charts and compasses to ensure avoidance of Raven Rock...."
So, as the sea around John Laing steams as a constant reminder that the
Deception Island volcano is not extinct (in 1967 bases had to be evacuated and the water
in the crater boiled to the extent that the paint was scalded from ships sides in
the lagoon) we are pleased to report our safe arrival at our first mooring in the
Joint Expedition Leader
Flashback to the Falkland Islands
in the Falkland Islands members of the BAAE took the opportunity to walk many of the
battlefields of the 1982 conflict. On the summit of Mount Tumbledown, Capt Wil Mace
of The Scots Guards recovered a weather damaged memorial laid by a former Scots Guardsman
who fought in the battle. After suitable restoratory work by some of our many
friends at Mount Pleasant, some of the expedition members were airlifted by a helicopter
from 78 Squadron (SAR) to the summit of Mount Tumbledown. The restored
memorial was returned to its former site and Captain Harry Scrope lead a small memorial
service. Major Dick Pattison played a lament while the expedition team reflected on
the events that had taken place some 19 years previously.
Joint Expedition Leader
(Photography by Tim Hall
ABIPP roll mouse over photos for captions )
It's cooler on the
John Laing than at Rothera Point!
temperature at Rothera)
temperature at Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands)
67.6° S 68.1° W