[ Caboose ] [ Introduction >> Kerguelen ]
Copyright © 2003 Kevin O'Rourke
The site is a work in progress, the 'Album' page in each section contains some photos but only some sections have much text.
December 2000 - January 2001
While I was travelling through the States I got an email from my former boss in Cambridge. The French scientist in charge of their SuperDARN radar on Kerguelen Island wanted somebody to go down and help him with some maintenance.
After a brief struggle to resist returning to the Southern polar regions I agreed to go.
Kerguelen - where's that?
Kerguelen is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean. Together with a few neighbouring island groups it belongs to France and is administered directly by the French government as part of their Southern and Antarctic Territories (Terres Australe et Antartique Français - TAAF).
If you look at the bottom right corner of the map you will see a small green blob, that's Kerguelen. The map below shows a bit more detail:
I started writing I diary, which I managed to keep up until Crozet Island. Then I started getting behind and as other diary-writers out there know this is often fatal to your efforts. As a result most of this is pulled together from bits of diary, emails, notes and occasional calendar entries from my PDA.
The French run their Antarctic and sub-Antarctic operations very differently from the British. There are several distinct organisations which each cooperate to run the bases. Science is organised by the IFRTP (Institut Français pour la Recherche et la Technologie Polaires) while the logistical and administrative operation is run by TAAF (see above). The Marion Dufresne is owned and operated by CGM (a French shipping company) and CNES, France Telecom and Metéo France all have operations at Port aux Français.
I was employed by the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), which uses the facilities of IFRTP and TAAF to run experiments on Kerguelen.
It's all rather confusing, which is my excuse in case any of the above is wrong.
The most important person to thank is Jean-Paul Villain, who was responsible for me going to Kerguelen in the first place and who allowed me time off for the trip to Port Jeanne d'Arc. Sadly, Jean-Paul died of cancer in early 2008, the loss of a good man and a respected scientist.
I'd also like to thank the 'Cabbage Girls': Françoise, Valerie and Anne, for taking me along on the trip to Val Studer.
Thanks also to: the friendly and helpful winterers of Port aux Français; Jean-François Le Mouël for an introduction to archaeology; Mike Pinnock for putting my name forward for the trip
This is probably a good point to say hello to the other non-French who were at PAF and on the Marion (Greg, Fernando, Massimo, Gerd and the others).
journeys/KERintro.html last updated: Fri Jun 19:51:56 2008