Fare thee well Grytviken

IMG_0461Farewell Grytviken
Following our final visit to the museum for yet more excellent hospitality, we had around an hour and a half spare before the final roast dinner;  Dolly, being the smaller of the two lambs, has survived the longest.  What little of her remains is being cut up as I speak by Stephen to become a curry tonight, whilst the remainder of us trying to regain our sea legs after our time ashore and alongside (Dan appears to be losing this game the worst at the moment).
Iso-containers have kept appearing during our South Georgia stop, though they appear to be getting more and more sneaky.  Up by the hydroelectric supply lake above Grytviken were two that had dressed themselves up to look like a permanent building, and then there was the one on the edge of the BAS camp at King Edward Point that had painted itself green to hide in the grass and employed a fat grumpy fur seal pup as a guard (or maybe he just thought it was full of seal food).  However BAS have managed to capture one and it is amazing what you can do with them… for this one has been turned into what must be one of the most scenic saunas in the world.  I’ve certainly not been in one before that has a window from which you can see the sea, mountains and glaciers with the occasional penguin or elephant seal waddling or lumbering past respectively at close range.
It was here that many of the team chose to spend their spare hour and a half in the hope that it would improve their walk-weary legs whilst queuing up for the shower (also in the iso-container and an absolute luxury after the 1-2 minutes of water, try and wash your hair in the sink whilst being thrown about the compartment like a pinball variety we have been managing approximately once a week on board Xplore for the last month).  Some decided to partake in a Sauna-to-Sea evolution, though they made the terrible mistake of taking Kris along with them.  He is like catnip to fur seals (maybe they heard he is a diver? Hard to believe when he keeps it so quiet…) and so they ended up surrounded by puppies and never managed to make it further in to the water than their knees, though I think they would like you to believe otherwise!
Everyone has been most impressed with how welcoming and helpful the BAS staff and the South Georgia Government have been, the community on the island is fantastic.  It is fair to say that more than a few of us would love to return for a job!  One of my favourite memories has to be when myself and Josh were detailed to resupply the ice buckets behind the BAS bar – we were taken to the galley where a chunk of glacial ice was brought out from the industrial freezer and we both got to smash bits off with a knife (whilst employing the health and safety oven gloves to ensure we didn’t end up stuck to it).  In my slightly intoxicated state I was most impressed with the ice cube that was bigger than my glass and it outlasted the rest of the evening’s rum and cokes!  After some bartering of the left over REAL food ration packs for rice, butter and hot chocolate for the return journey to the Falklands (along with a gift of tinned rhubarb from their no-one’s-quite-sure-why-it-was-ordered enormous tinned rhubarb mountain) it was time to say farewell.
Stephen shook us at 0515 this morning having set his alarm for an early weather check (at 0400 based on his pre-emptive apology to Matt B last night).  After a quick breakfast we departed Grytviken for the Bay of Islands, where this evening we will be getting ashore in the Zodiac to stretch our legs whilst engaging in some more wildlife spotting.
– Emily