Blogs from Port Lockroy 18/19 Season

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.

18 March 2019 Final Goodbye
Farewell, Port Lockroy!

Hello for the final time this season from the 2018-19 team. Sorry for not posting a blog last week, we were busy closing down the base and then sailing away back up to Ushuaia where we’ve been writing our end of season reports. And as we all go our separate ways to travel now, before meeting again back in Cambridge for our debrief at the end of April, we thought we’d wrap up our blogs by giving you a final insight in to our season at Port Lockroy...

4 March 2019 Week Seventeen
French Connection

Greetings from Antarctica, a beautiful international place.

We have been talking a lot about me being the only human male on base, but I am also the only French. Although it is safe to say that I am the first French man being part of the Port Lockroy team since the renovation of the base, I can certainly not pretend to be the first French man spending time here at Port Lockroy. This title goes to Commandant Jean Baptiste Charcot and his men who named the bay in 1904. Let me tell you a bit more about the very beginning of Port Lockroy’s history...

 

 

25 February 2019 Week Sixteen
An Inspector Calls

Greetings, guest blogger Camilla here! For those who don’t know me, I am the Chief Exec. of UKAHT and am half way through a month-long visit to the Peninsula, spending time with the team here, and later, carrying out some inspections of the other historic huts on the Peninsula...

18 February 2019 Week Fifteen
75 Years of History

Last week, we celebrated the 75th Anniversary of Operation Tabarin, which was Britain’s secret mission to establish bases in Antarctica during World War Two. Therefore, I thought that I would start my blog by discussing how we live at Base A today and compare and contrast this with how the early pioneers lived here in the ’40s and ’50s. It is interesting to see how some things have changed yet others remain the same and I will illustrate this with some examples...

11 February 2019 Week Fourteen
Celebrating science at Base A

The last month for this year’s Port Lockroy team started a few days ago when we heard our official departure date from our Antarctic home which we have all grown to love. We’ll be boarding a ship on the 8th of March to start our journey back to Ushuaia, but before that, we have a big list of tasks to complete as we start the preparations of closing the base for the winter...

4 February 2019 Week Thirteen
A Ship Shape Day

Last week Hannah described to you all how we ordinarily spend our days here at Port Lockroy; welcoming tourist cruise ships onto the island, to enjoy the museum, see the penguins, and to add a postcard to the ever growing pile ready to head to Stanley. On Tuesday this week, however, we had a ship filled day, but of a fairly unique nature. With a tall-ship, a small yacht, a huge research vessel, and the Spanish Navy, it’s safe to say that this was not a regular day in the calendar, with no cruise ships in sight...

28 January 2019 Week Twelve
The Port of Port Lockroy

Another week has flown by here on Goudier Island, and of course, that means more daily visits from passing ships and yachts into our beautiful natural harbour and port. But let me tell you a little more about how these visits work, from the communication beforehand to the tradition of the Port Lockroy farewell wave…

21 January 2019 Week Eleven
Gentoo summer cycle

Hello everyone! I hope the world is going well while we are down here. Everything is fine on our side, quiet and peaceful as usual. Another week being five and still living in ‘marital bliss’. Music is always on in our Nissen hut, but we have traded Christmas carols for artists such as Ilivor or Thomas Kahn. People keep asking how it is going for me, being the only man with now four women, but they don’t seem to realize that the ladies are amazing!...

14 January 2019 Week Ten
Why I Return to Port Lockroy

I am the newest member of this season’s team, having arrived one week ago. Now I have settled in I have time to write a blog and I thought I would start by explaining my connection with Base A and why I return...

 

7 January 2019 Week Nine
Digital detox Antarctica style

Happy New Year everybody! We spent an unforgettable, although short New Year’s Eve here at Port Lockroy. We had a busy day welcoming in over 200 visitors to our tiny island so our eyelids started to feel heavy by 10pm. With the help of some music and card games, though, we managed to stay awake to welcome in 2019 with a bottle of bubbly, kindly given to us by one of the ships. New Year also brought new people and our team of four grew to five when Sally joined us from the Falkland Islands...

31 December 2018 Week Eight
Festive fun and work in the sun

We’ve had an excellent week of festivities here at Lockroy, this year celebrating two Christmas Days with Finnish Christmas on 24th December and French/British Christmas on 25th. Recreating a traditional Finnish Christmas in Antarctica proved to be a little tricky as it typically involves several saunas, cold meats and specific Finnish cakes and desserts. In lieu of these, a bluebird day provided enough sunshine to make the guano steam like a sauna...

24 December 2018 Week Seven
A Historic Philatelic Christmas

During our daily ship and yacht visits, people often ask us, ‘So what exactly do you do here?’, or enquire about the research we are doing, assuming we are a scientific base. We reply that the majority of our time is taken up with welcoming 18,000 visitors during our four months here to our museum, post office and gift shop which helps raise funds for the trust...

17 December 2018 Week Six
Ok Google

A month already on the island, 10 days to Christmas, time flies! This new week had its shares of snowfall, ships visits, laughter, and our second day off. For our rest day, the weather was unbelievable again. We said already that Port Lockroy days off were blessed, well the second one didn’t prove it wrong: pure blue sky, stunning sun, a picnic on the beach, a quick plunge in the water up to the shoulders for Heidi and Kirsty and to the belly button for me (far too cold) Hannah was exempted as had previously survived a polar plunge last season...

10 December 2018 Week Five
One month in!

It is exactly one month today since we arrived at Port Lockroy and what a month it has been! We have learned to love this little island on the Antarctic Peninsula and are proud to call it home. It feels like a long time ago when Adele, Geoff, Michael and Al from the conservation team were waving at us on the Chains landing site when we approached Goudier Island for the first time...

3 December 2018 Week Four
Expect the unexpected

Naturally, people we meet while visiting the island are curious to know how long we have been living here. While proudly stating that we have been Antarctic residents for an impressive two and a half weeks, I was brought back down to earth when a passenger kindly pointed out that he had in fact been in Antarctica longer than us, just on his cruise! At the end of this coming week, however, we will have been here almost a month already...

25 November 2018 Week Three
Same, but totally different second time around

When asked last season in an interview what I thought it would be like returning to Port Lockroy for a second season, I replied, “I think it will be much more of the same, yet totally different,” which afterwards, I realised was something of an oxymoron. Today, a year to the day since I arrived last year, and now I have been here two weeks, I recognised that it is quite true...

19 November 2018 Week Two
The first week in Lockroy

The first week in Lockroy! Here we are, the eight of us—four Port Lockroy team members, three in the Conservation Team and their field assistant, after 7 days on our tiny island, living in our hobbit house. I guess it goes without saying, that time flew during this first week. We had so much to learn about and so many things to get familiar with, on top of preparing the island for our first visitors. It is even hard to believe that we have only been here for a week. It seems like forever already. It is probably because we are quite comfortable here, with nice people and lovely penguins...

10 November 2018 Week One
Greetings from Port Lockroy, Antarctica!

Greetings from Port Lockroy, Antarctica! As this is our first blog post of the season, each team member contributed to this post because we all have so much to say. Our team of four arrived safely to our home on the Antarctic Peninsula on Saturday 10th November 2018 on Ocean Endeavour after 8 days of travelling. We departed Cambridge on the 3rd November with 10 bags of gear and warm clothes to keep us warm and cosy for the next four months. After 25 boarded the Quark Expeditions ship on Tuesday 6th to start the last part of our journey and with the unpredictable Antarctic weather, we had no guarantee of the arrival date. We were treated to beautiful blue skies and brilliant sunshine during our first landing on Cuverville Island where we met our first colony of Gentoo penguins. We knew what home was going to smell like then...

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