View new Agulhas on Bay visit

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GREETINGS from Marion Island.

I had this urge to send a message to everyone in Port Elizabeth.

I consider myself to be a true Port Elizabethan, having worked in the city for more than 20 years, with the dolphins, seals and penguins. Since leaving the Oceanarium in 2009, I have been fortunate to have spent three years on Marion Island, working with the penguins and seabirds.

I am completing my fourth year on the island. Since my first expedition in 2005, there has been a number of changes here, namely the opening of the new base in 2010 (I have attached photos) to the arrival of the new SA Agulhas 2.

The 2012/13 team comprises 21 members. We arrived on the island in April on the old SA Agulhas. This was her last voyage for Sanap (SA National Antarctic Programme).

The SA Agulhas has carried overwintering teams, equipment and supplies to South Africa’s three remote scientific station, namely Gough Island, Sanae in the Antarctic and the Prince Edward Islands (consisting of two islands of which Marion Island is part), for the past 30 years. It has braved some treacherous waters through the roaring forties.

Since we left South Africa, the new SA Agulhas 2 has arrived in South Africa, I think it was in June.

The new Agulhas is presently doing her maiden sea trials, having just visited the pack ice and then came past Marion Island.

She arrived on the evening of July 28, but unfortunately I was not in base, as we had work to do and were staying in one of the field huts, so did not get to see her.

Within the next day or so, this new vessel arrives in Port Elizabeth. I urge people to have a look at her (not hard to do in PE).

I will be returning on the new SA Agulhas in May next year and look forward to being back in PE.

Regards to all from this little island of animal paradise.

Linda Clokie, Marion Island

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