Blog 1 | Preparations for travel
Getting to Antarctica has never been easy and that is a big part of the attraction. Throughout history plans have been made, changed, cancelled and then planned again. Historically they were let down by their poor transport, equipment and lack of knowledge. Now with modern ships and with the technology to obtain precise weather and ice information, it can be more certain, but never guaranteed. However, this is the first year that Antarctic travel has been virtually stopped by a global pandemic.
I am currently completing a very strict, two-week quarantine in The Malvina House Hotel in the Falkland Islands. I have had my first Covid swab and I must complete two more negative ‘brain ticklers' before I can proceed to join The British Antarctic Survey, for their trip to the Antarctic Peninsula. I am currently pondering about the many times in Antarctic history when men have sheltered in huts for weeks on end, waiting for a change in the weather. How would they have occupied themselves?
During the austral summer (November to March), Port Lockroy would normally be staffed by a full team, with specialist conservationists to ensure our historic buildings can continue to withstand the extreme weather conditions of the severe Antarctic winters. This has not been possible this season. However, I have recently been given the opportunity to join the British Antarctic Survey to visit several of our key historic sites. We will undertake any critical conservation work and gather information that will be vital in allowing us to monitor the impact of weathering and degradation to our sites and artefacts, so we can prepare and mitigate issues for the next season. There is also a list of important specific tasks to undertake.
Can you support our work? Help to protect Antarctica's heritage
The pandemic has had a significant impact on our charity and we need your generosity now more than ever. By supporting our work you can help to conserve historic buildings and artefacts in Antarctica and contribute to the protection of its unique natural environment and wildlife. Every donation is helping to support our return to Antarctica to continue our conservation programme, reopen our museum and post office, and undertake vital repairs. Join us and be part of the story.