Well, when I say we're off, it feels like we have been 'off' for a few days now, if not weeks - such has been the frenzy of our planning and depot laying. We are, as a team, now ready to deploy fully into the field at Husvik, the site of our first camp and team rat central for the next month. There are four main operating bases from which we will work, although the bulk of our equipment and tents etc will travel with us - so far we have deposited food, fuel and rat poison at the other sites, and we will move in the form of a mad, flying circus with tents slung under helicopters ( watch this space...). Thankfully, we get to ride inside.
For the past three weeks, I have been working 24/7 to organise the food here, in between cooking for some of the guys on base. It's been a tough job as the cooker is small and irregular, burning on the bottom while burning on the top unless the cake/biscuit/flapjack is perfectly central to the oven. Needless to say, when you are making, as I did the other day, 2250 oatcakes, it takes some time and a lot of swearing.
We will bake a good deal of our breads in the field - but we have no ovens, so they will take the form of English muffins, chapattis, naan, pittas, farls, welsh cakes, crumpets, staffordshire oatcakes and so forth - all recipes me and my fellow chef, the great Oli Prince have been testing for a few days now. Oli has only been with me for the past three or four days, having previously been trapped on the ship, so I am glad that he is here with me now. There is still a lot to plan, but at least we will have chance to set up the field kitchen together until the other chef, Ant Dubber, joins in a week or so.
We are waiting, now, as I write, for our helicopter to collect us and whisk us over to the west, over the Neumeyer Glacier, down Olsen valley to our camp which is, conveniently, based at the site of the old whaling station at Husvik, so there are buildings to occupy and set our tents up alongside. This next week will test all of the planning we have carried out over the past year, so finger's crossed that it was all done properly and that we will indeed have enough food, energy and patience to survive the next few months. I will be coming and going to the camps as time allows, but mostly it looks like I will be based here at the research station where the majority of the planning and coordination for the food operation will take place. Creature comforts are present here, but my team is not...so I will miss the others when I am not with them, as I have been doing for the past week or three.
Anyway, thanks to all for reading, for sending messages of support and so forth. Check out the SGHT website for our other news, and if you would like to donate to the South Georgia Habitat Restoration Project, you can find out how to do so there.
Cheers for now, Gerard