Port Lockroy Blogs
Skinner, Tudor and Sarah were dropped off on Goudier Island in true Antarctic weather conditions on Tuesday evening. The low tide made access to the island easier than expected. After lifting our luggage onto the snow bank, we climbed up and made our way to the buildings.
There was less snow than other years but we still needed to shovel our way to the front doors of the Boatshed and the back door of the Nissen hut to gain access to the buildings. It took us less than an hour to enter the Nissen. We were surprised at the relatively balmy temperature: 0°C inside! Not bad for mid-spring in Antarctica! We found the pots of ice left by the conservation team in March had completely melted, so we were able to fill up the kettle and have a cup of tea as soon as the gas bottle cupboard was dug out of the snow.
With strong winds and horizontal snow we decided to wait until the morning to set up the VHF radio and satellite antennas on the Nissen roof. The wind remained challenging but we successfully connected all cables and
ties and have been able to keep in touch with the outside world since! In the past, we have had problems with ice accumulating on the end of cables and reconnecting antennas, so we were pleased this year was an exception.
Looking at photos of the Base from the 1950s makes you wonder how the men maintained all the cables in good condition throughout the year. During the IGY (International Geophysical Year) of 1957-58 Port Lockroy
was the FIDs’ hub of communication so as well as all the cables set up for ionospherics research, there were cables running across the bay to Jougla point. We feel ourselves lucky our communication set-up has been simplified.
We spent hours shovelling at the Chains landing in order to create a snow and ice staircase for visitors to access the island easily. Underneath the snow, there are large chains tied to the rocks that were used for mooring in the 1920s by whalers. They installed chains and hooks on two parts of Goudier Island and the back of Port Lockroy bay so they could moor and process their catch alongside their ships. Thanks to Charcot’s Francais Expedition, Port Lockroy was known as a safe anchorage during storms and the surrounding glaciers were reliable sources of fresh water. Goudier Island’s two moorings are still in use today as landing points. Other remains from the whaling era include a couple of water boats that the penguins around the Boatshed are patiently waiting to thaw out to use as support for building their nests.
After a full day of preparation, the Base was finally ready for our first ship visits. The weather improved meaning Liesl and Amy had a fantastic view of the bay from Akademik Ioffe as they arrived. After 6 days of travelling the whole team was back together and ready to welcome visitors onto the island. It was great to welcome guests in the shop and museum and for the guests to discover the place where their fellow travellers were going to be living and working for the next four months. Our first week ended with Fram bringing our first cargo delivery. The weather and tide were on our side making the zodiac transit and unloading of 300 boxes of stock and food very smooth. We’d like to thank Hurtigruten for their help transporting all of goods from the Falkland Islands to us.
The Lockroy Team 2014-15 is now complete, the museum is open and the shop is fully stocked, so we are looking forward to welcoming more visitors in the coming days!