Latest Blogs from Port Lockroy

An important part of what we do is bringing to life the human stories of Antarctica. Every year our team, who are based in Port Lockroy, Antarctica during the Austral summer, write a weekly blog to tell the story of what it is like to live and work in this exciting place. Read the latest blog posts from the team here.

05 March 2018
Leaving our lovely Lockroy

With just a few days left before we leave Port Lockroy, the time has come to write the final blog. We have our last ship visit today, which then leaves us two days to finish closing down the base at the end of another successful season. We have welcomed over 17,000 visitors since November, from almost 150 ship visits, and around 60 yachts. We have seen everything from a solo yachtsman to a 500 passenger cruise ship, as well as super yachts complete with submersible and helicopter. And as our young penguin chicks are now enjoying their first baths and swimming lessons, we feel like we really have experienced a full season of life at Lockroy...

26 February 2018
Port Lockroy from the outside looking in

This week’s blog will have a slightly different tone to usual as I thought it would be interesting for me to write from my perspective, as a new member of the team. Hannelore mentioned in her post last week that I arrived on Goudier Island on February 12th.

I joined the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust as the Antarctic Operations Manager in May 2016 and I feel very lucky to have such an incredible job. I work for the Trust full time with a team of dedicated people based in the UK who all work extremely hard to plan the season ahead in various ways. We work behind the scenes making sure everything...

19 February 2018
Coming to an end

To find some inspiration for this week’s blog I am writing to you from the chains landing site on a mystical and magical morning. Although impossible to capture in any picture, I will try and share this special moment with you.

The natural harbour of Port Lockroy, named during Charcot's first expedition in 1904, is right now a breath-taking watercolour with fog-like curtains hiding all the surrounding mountains. Doumer Island's glacier wall is lit up and the sky is greyish with some blue tones. The bay is flat calm, with only a few ripples here and there from the proposing penguins and a breaching Minke whale...

12 February 2018
A visit from IAATO

At 1.5°C outside and with 40 knot winds howling by and rain pinging off the chimney, instead of my previous blog writing position sitting outside in the sun, I find myself today huddled up indoors with the fire on in 11°C. With this morning’s ship visit cancelled due to the wind, this gives us time to get on with other important jobs, and with only one month left here, we are already working on tasks that need to be completed before we leave...

05 February 2018
In love with Lockroy

This is my first blog since arriving and I thought that it would be interesting to tell you a little bit about my association with Port Lockroy, before I update you with what we have been doing on our special little island for the last week. Just imagine what the original base members in 1944 would have thought of sending out a blog from their base; they had very limited communications in those days.

My love for Port Lockroy began in 1996 while I was working for The British Antarctic Survey on board the RRS Bransfield. The ship called at Port Lockroy to drop off the team of carpenters and conservators, who were assigned to restore the base. It was ironic that the RRS Bransfield was providing the support to restore Bransfield House (Base A)...

29 January 2018
Three to four

Following Julia’s unfortunate departure, we have been running the base as a team of 3 for the past couple of weeks. As a result, the few slots that were still open in our schedule for ship visits were blocked so that we could catch up on some of the tasks we don’t have time to do whilst we prepare a visit and welcome passengers ashore. So at the beginning of the week, a rare window of sun enabled Hannah to continue the maintenance of Bransfield House whilst Hannelore took measurements to improve cupboards and update information boards and I caught up on forms and reports related to my new responsibilities. Indeed, though all team members are involved in all the activities on base, we are all responsible for different areas of work. As Base Leader, Hannelore coordinates all tasks on base as well as the ship schedule. But these are not her only duties. She is also in charge of the maintenance of the buildings and the artefact survey inside the museum...

22 January 2018
Our Cosy Home

Dear followers, family and friends, we hope you have had a lovely week. For us, this week ended with our 'ship free day' and for a change we spent most of our time inside the Nissen doing different work-related and personal tasks. The Nissen hut, one of the three buildings on Goudier island, is the black iron corrugated building, which is a reconstruction of the original one built in 1944. Many of you will have seen the Nissen hut's exterior either on pictures or during your visit, but very few will have seen the inside of our cozy little home, so I thought it would be nice to give you a little tour.

15 January 2018
Briefings and questions – Life at Port Lockroy past and present

So mid-January marks about the half-way point of our time here at Port Lockroy, and already we have seen so many changes. From the team initially digging their way in through the snow to find the doors and the first eggs being laid and then later hatching, to now the oldest chicks taking their first wobbly steps out of their nests. Only about 15% of the island is still hidden under the last remaining snow, and avalanches and glacier calvings are now frequent occurrences...

08 January 2018
New Year, new arrivals, same team

A New Year begins but the season continues and our first week of 2018 has been just as busy as the end of 2017! After a lovely New Year’s celebration, we entered 2018 in Port Lockroy style with an early wake up and cargo drop. By 8 a.m. the Boatshed was full of new boxes to restock the shop and the team were ready to welcome our first passengers of the year. As no ships were scheduled for the afternoon, we were hoping to catch up on some sleep with a short nap but our plans rapidly changed when not one but three yachts called in to visit. Port Lockroy is a popular place and like everywhere else in Antarctica, you should always expect the unexpected! And that always applies to the weather...

01 January 2018
The last seven days of 2017

The start to the week was Christmas Day and a welcome day off with no ships scheduled to visit. Fortunately, the weather was very kind to us with blue sky, little wind and sunshine which was very welcome after the snow and strong winds of the previous week. It was great to have the island to ourselves, except for the penguins, of course.

25 December 2017
Christmas wishes from Port Lockroy

Dear followers, friends and family, we have had another exciting week at Port Lockroy, Base A, with quite a lot of special visitors; a young elephant seal snoozing in the Boatshed gentoo colony, a singing Weddell seal, Crabeater and Leopard seals, southern giant petrels and even Chinstraps and Adelies...

18 December 2017
The post is here!

Sunday afternoon, and I’m sitting out on our recently discovered back veranda (as the 2m snow that was there a month ago has now been shovelled and melted away). All I can hear are the sounds of penguins calling to each other, their feet crunching the snow as they waddle along their highways and the splash in the water on a glorious sunny and balmy 14.6 degree cloud free day. And yes, the view isn’t at all bad either. But this sounds all too relaxing, and hardly representative of another extremely busy week, so allow me to enlighten you with what we’ve been up to...

11 December 2017
Many visitors and some unexpected ones!

Our little Goudier Island is getting busier and we’ve enjoyed at least one ship visit every day this week, with our first all-female cruise and our first sailing yacht of the season. The museum and gift shop have been the centre of attention and we’ve felt honoured to share some the stories of the base with passengers but we’ve also been busy restocking the shop and Post Office. Thankfully our next cargo drop is due to arrive soon and we’ll have plenty more postcards for people to send home. We are very thankful to all our visitors as they have all contributed to the work of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, whether it has been by showing interest in what we do or by helping fund our conservation work, here at Port Lockroy and at the other five historic sites managed by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.   

04 December 2017
What a difference a day makes!

The weather doesn’t just change dramatically from day to day but within the same day too!

We woke on Monday to glorious sunshine and blue skies but we were still locked in by the sea ice. The wind had not changed direction so there was lots of ice blocking all of the landing points. Two ships were scheduled to visit us that day but unfortunately they had to cancel as they were unable to land. As we are never short of things to do, we soon occupied ourselves with organising the merchandise in the shop, Hannelore spent time with Hannah showing her around and familiarising her with day to day life on the base to get her up to speed. Whilst I was busy receiving shop stock and liaising with head office about a few things, Sophie was out looking at the penguin colonies in preparation for the count the next day. Hannah then began sorting out the post office stock...

27 November 2017
Adventurous comings and goings

I am writing you from my bunk in the bedroom, tucked in my cosy warm duvet. Although it is still light outside, it is getting close to midnight at Lockroy. We have been here for 10 days now, but it feels more like a month. So much has happened. For all of you who read the last blog post, you’ll know that we managed to get into Port Lockroy, and once again the flag is flying at Base A...

20 November 2017
South to the Ice

After enjoying Argentine hospitality the time arrived for us to set sail South. Our great thanks go to the One Ocean team for hosting us onboard MS Akademik Ioffe. We wouldn’t be the first to contemplate the impending crossing of the Drake Passage with some trepidation, but any concerns we had were premature. To our relief and delight our two-day crossing was a smooth one accompanied by sea birds of the Southern Ocean, including the majestic Great Wandering Albatross, and the calm waters were ideal for whale spotting. We saw Fin, Humpback, Orca and even the elusive Blue Whale...

06 November 2017
Voyage to ‘the end of the Earth’

After a busy training week, we all went our separate ways for a week to pack all our gear and get ready for the Antarctic season ahead of us. The whole Port Lockroy team was to meet again in Cambridge one last time before setting off on separate journeys down to Ushuaia in Argentina and Stanley on the Falkland Islands.

Hannah and I arrived at the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust offices one day before Julia and Hannelore. As Hannah helped the staff prepare all our folders and manuals that will be helping us set up and manage the Port Lockroy operation, I had another meeting with Mike Dunn, whom we had met during training week, so he could explain in detail how to carry out the gentoo colony survey...

31 October 2017
Trained up, kitted out, and raring to go!

Last week, the four Port Lockroy team members, Base leader Hannelore, Julia, Sophie, and I, Hannah, reunited in Cambridge ahead of our six days of training to prepare us for our season ahead. We hadn’t seen each other since the selection back in May when Hannelore was the only one who knew she would be going south again, and the rest of us waited in hope.

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We are very keen to promote the important heritage work that we do, telling the story of life in Antarctica both past and present. If you are interested in running a story about us, using our images or films or want to discuss an interview or potential collaboration opportunity we would love to hear from you.  Please contact either Sarah or Lewis at Limewash to discuss your requirements sarah@limewash.co.uk or +44 (0)1223 813 557.