Birds & Bergs
FI to Signy
We're still anchored off Signy, the bay is fairly clear but the wind has started to blow the pack ice back in, so we'll have to fight a new way out. I was a bit unlucky and ended up on Gash, where we help out the Galley, which meant I wasn't able to get ashore straight away, but did mean I didn't have to join a work party, so spent the afternoon walking on the snow covered hills around the base.
The scenery is dramatic, with glaciers and mountains in the distance, icebergs off the coast, black cliffs plunging down to rocky beaches strewn with seals and penguins. The base is fairly small, having room for only eight people, and is only inhabited during the summer season. A small group of seals lives beside the base, using it to shelter from the wind, and contributing an unwholesome odour to the air. It was entertaining watching them puff and snort (well, belch) as we drank cups of tea, but I'd be driven mad if I had that lot living underneath my bedroom window.
The hills behind the base are also home to birds (Skuas, Cape Petrels and Snow Petrels) nesting in small tunnels in the rocks, hard to notice when walking around until squawking sounds emerge from somewhere close to your feet. The base is rich with history as it used to be a Norwegian whaling station, back in the early part of the 20th century, with parts of the original slipway still remaining, along with a rusting boiler, a rusting boat, and a few crosses marking the graves of whalers a mile or so along the coast.
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