South Atlantic Blog 2011

Photos from the 2010 trip

Making absolute observations

Fisheries patrol ship Pharos SG off the coast of South Georgia

The completed instrument housing

Installing the fluxgate instrument housing

Laying the foundation for the absolute hut in the snowy South Georgia summer

BGS international work

BGS staff, Tony Swan and Chris Turbitt, are on route to South Georgia to complete the installation of a new Magnetic Observatory at the British Antarctic Survey's (BAS) King Edward Point installation.

This work follows on from the South Atlantic 2010 trip to establish the infrastructure needed for the observatory.

Follow the 2011 fieldwork

Tony and Chris set off on 9 February on a 14-hour journey from Edinburgh to Santiago, Chile, via Paris.

After a day in Santiago they fly to Punta Arenas, one of the southernmost cities in the world, followed by a flight to the Falkland Islands; a four-day journey!

Cruising to South Georgia

After a three day stop-over to service, calibrate and make absolute measurements at the BGS Port Stanley Magnetic Observatory, Tony and Chris will board the MS Bremen, one of the many cruise boats that tour around the south Atlantic. Their three-day, 900-mile cruise should leave them well rested for the work ahead!

Installing the new magnetic observatory

The MS Bremen arrives at King Edward Point, Cumberland Bay on 16 February. Our scientists will spend the next 10 days finishing the installation of the observatory by completing the Absolute House and installing all cabling, instruments and communications required.

They will also be training local staff to make absolute magnetic observations. These spot observations are vital to the successful operation of the observatory after they leave the island.

Weather and wildlife

Although it is summer in the southern Hemisphere, the weather on South Georgia can be extremely variable and snow is a possibility on any day of the year.

In addition to the weather, the team will need to give a wide berth to the elephant and fur seals that inhabit the island. The seals shelter in Cumberland Bay and make it their home for most of the year.

We will learn what the seals made of last year's installation and hope the enclosures have not become their new home!

The long journey home

With the new observatory up and running Tony and Chris will start their 9-day journey home on 27 February.

They will be picked up by the South Georgia fisheries Protection Vessel Pharos SG for the 5-day, journey back to the Falkland Islands.

On route, the Pharos will patrol the South Georgia Toothfish fisheries and may stop to check that boats are licensed to fish there. Onward from the Falklands they embark on a series of flights to Santiago, Paris and finally home to Edinburgh on the 7 March.

Site prior to the 2010 fieldwork. Site after the 2010 fieldwork.