Port Lockroy Blogs
This year's team followed the tradition and spent the last weekend of August together. It's a great opportunity for the team to bond, to discuss how to prepare for the crossing of the Drake Passage, find out who snores (no one!), how people drink their tea but most importantly to discuss daily life at Lockroy and start thinking about the season ahead!
Amy and Phoebe live in Scotland while Stephen lives near London and Sarah works in Norway. With three members in the north and one in the south, we decided to look for a place half way between Edinburgh and London. The small harbour of Whitby, Yorkshire fitted the criteria and had the right combination of beautiful coast line, historical sites and also the best fish and chips restaurant in the UK!
Amy, Phoebe and Sarah had a beautiful ride through the northern British countryside, changing trains at Darlington, home of the first passenger train. Steam trains still run through the Esk valley all the way to Whitby - what a treat to hear the sound of old trains! The girls arrived on time for a wander along the harbour and to test the water temperature- at least 15°c warmer than at Port Lockroy, warm enough for Stephen and Amy to have a swim!
Although Whitby is now a seaside resort, it was once an important harbour for trade. In the late 18th and early 19th century, up to 55 whaling ships hunting in the Arctic were based in Whitby. The whale jaw bones displayed above town pay tribute to this part of Whitby's history. A similar structure was also erected near the boat shed at Port Lockroy in the 1950s!
We found out we were all keen cooks so food was a major part of our weekend. It has been an important topic of conversation among polar explorers and everyone planning to spend time in an isolated place wonders what food will be available. Luckily, Lockroy staff no longer rely on penguin breast and seal brain for survival but are well supplied with spices, tinned and dried food. The operation managing team composed of Anna, Lisa and Sarah J. have spent the summer packing the shops' merchandise and our food ready for shipping this week. Everything will be sent to the Falklands and then collected and delivered to us by the Hurtigruten Fram and Lindblad National Geographic Explorer. Sarah enjoyed showing her colleagues entire supermarket aisles of tinned food that we will have the chance to try in two months’ time! We also decided we will make our own fish and chips at Lockroy- mushy peas will be the easiest part for sure! Follow our weekly blog entries from November to March to find out if we do succeed!
This season will be busy with many people joining the core team. Tudor Morgan will go down with us and help set us up for the season ahead. Lisa Avis should be with us to observe the operation and to see the first penguin chick hatch in December while Anna Malaos should arrive in time to see some good leopard seal predation in March. We also look forward to having Michael Powell join us in January and February to do some conservation and maintenance works at Lockroy and Damoy Hut. Karin Strand from Hurtigruten Fram and Lisa Kelley from National Geographic Explorer will each work with us for a week in January and February. Let's hope they all like fish and chips!
The team is looking forward to meeting with all UKAHT staff for training in Cambridge in a couple of weeks!
Amy, Phoebe, Sarah and Stephen