November was a busy month for cruise vessels: eleven cruise ships visited South Georgia between the 9th and 29th, according to the South Georgia Newsletter. One cruise ship, Ortelius, reached the rarely visited South Sandwich Islands and was able to put scientist Tom Hart ashore on Saunders Island where he took soil samples and set up two camera-traps to monitor the penguin colonies.
Several yachts remained around South Georgia at the start of the month and were joined by the charter yacht Santa Maria Australis supporting an expeditionary group. Another charter yacht, Golden Fleece, arrived from the Falklands with a three-man BBC film crew to film fur seals.
British Antarctic Survey (BAS) research ship RRS James Clark Ross arrived alongside the King Edward Point (KEP) jetty on November 20th and over the next two days the base was busy receiving all the stores needed for the year ahead.
The Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Ship, HMS Protector was on patrol around South Georgia in late November. The ship is affectionately referred to as “the Royal Navy’s Swiss Army Knife” as she is red, versatile, and always there when you need her.
After calling at Husvik to assist with the recovery of equipment and supplies deposited there for the SGHT Habitat Restoration Project, the ship entered Cumberland Bay for a three-day visit, on November 24th. Whilst the ship was in harbor the embarked diving team made a survey of the KEP jetty.
Most of the ship’s crew managed to get ashore during the visit, which included a Sunday service in the church followed by coffee and cakes in the Museum.
A party of Royal Marines and crew took advantage of the opportunity for some expedition training and spent a night ashore testing their tents and other camping equipment before the ship headed down to the Antarctic continent.
The ship was also delivering back two old whaling harpoon heads that had been collected in the 1960s. An ex-serviceman had requested the Navy return them for him anonymously.
Reciprocal social invites were issued, with locals enjoying lunch on board and a chance to tour the ship, and the Captain Rhett Hatcher and other officers invited for dinner at Carse House.