On our way to South Georgia,

When we left the South Shetland Islands 5 days ago we headed north to pick up our rat traps for South Georgia. Also we had an appointment with a dog team to come and sniff out any rats on board. We had a quick crossing of 3 and a half days! Paul our agent in the Falklands had arranged everything to be ready when we got there, even on a Sunday! And what later turned out to be his wife’s birthday… We got the dog team on board and found no rats, that was a good thing! We took the traps and had a short briefing by the South Georgia government officials in their office. Which is very pretty and does the place right. The officials were extremely helpful and offered lots of advice! The reason for the dog team and the rat traps is the bio security on the Islands. They have just successfully finished a de-ratting program, making the Islands rat free! This might not sound like a big deal, but the Island is home to 65 million birds all nesting on or in the ground. Rats are an invasive species having come with the whalers and sealers two centuries ago. The birds are not quick enough to adapt to this invasion and numbers were rapidly dropping. Rodents are not the only problem. Visitors can also bring in seeds of plants or invertebrates, for which the delicate ecosystem is not ready.

We as visitors have the responsibility to keep these intruders at bay. A harmless visit might other wise turn into a disaster. The briefing material we got from the officials once again made us aware of the potential impact of our presence. So we spread the rat traps, set some sails  and are boiling down the Southern Ocean once again! Enki did 41 nml from 1200 to 1600 watch beating our 38 nml from 0800 to 1200. Hourglass dolphins waved us of as the Falklands have become a distant memory once again…

All well on board Gijs Sluik

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