Port Lockroy Blog - 26th November 2011


Michael, Ylva, Claire, Cat and Rachel


Well Sunday night has come round again and it is time to catch up on the week!  I know it's been said many times before, but it is incredible how quickly time flies by at Port Lockroy.  And as we have no 'weekends' as such, it is only by looking at the diary that we know what day of the week it is. Although we are now nearly four weeks into the season, it still feels like the beginning, as we still have lots to do.  We tackled the job of moving the supply boxes into a rational order inside the Boatshed, and started our four day rota of cook, inside clean, outside clean, and 'free'. Of course this is in addition to all our other duties.

Preparing bitumen for the paint job Painting in progress

One of our major projects for the start of this season is to re-roof the workshop, so Michael cleared it in preparation.  With some nice days, we got onto the roof of Bransfield House, scrubbing off the sheathbill leavings with snow, and coating it in bitumen, also making a start on the walls.  Rachel is here for some major sorting out, and started off with the medical indent, binning out-of-date stock and rationalising cartons. Ylva took on the challenge of servicing our 'Wilderness Comfort Station'.  There is corrosion inside it which needs to be dealt with and one new part has proved impossible to fit. The snow on the island is disappearing fast, with rocks, paths and artefacts appearing every hour, so ice-axing and shovelling the paths is needed every visit.

 Ylva servicing the incinerating toilet

On Wednesday we received an invitation to dinner from M/V Expedition, (the ship who brought down Cat, Claire and Michael).  As we returned to base, we had a nose into the Peltier Channel which was a treat.  Being island-bound, it is nice to be able to put our mental map in perspective by being able to see the other side of Jougla, and round Lecuyer Point.

Then we had a fantastic surprise invitation from National Geographic Explorer to take 2 of us to Palmer Research Station for the night. Huge thanks to Bob at Palmer too.  Cat and Claire jumped at the chance and had a great trip over to Anvers Island on NGE. We are hugely grateful to the Captain and Lisa, not only for this chance to meet the neighbours, but also for delivering our roofing timber and tin for the workshop roof thus enabling Michael to crack on. NGE will also deliver more timber for us to Detaille later in the season.

National Geographic Explorer delivering timber and supplies for the restoration of the workshop View of Palmer station on Anvers Island

While Cat and Claire were partying with the team of 38 American scientists working at Palmer, Ylva, Michael and Rachel took advantage of a sunny afternoon to finish painting the roof of the generator shed.  They even managed a walk round Bills Island in the extreme low tide before preparing for NGE's visit the next day.

We also enjoyed visits from Clipper Adventurer and L'Austral, who kindly brought us Kath - who is joining the core team.  Judith, who worked at Port Lockroy for a season in 2008/9 was also aboard and it was great to see her. She was overwhelmed to see the Nissen hut accommodation as she had had to brave the cold of the Bransfield House bunkroom.  We gave a multilingual 'recap' to the guests on L'Austral, Ylva in her native German, Cat in fantastic French, and the rest in English, before a sumptuous dinner with the Commandant – a welcome change from tinned curry.

The penguins seem to be getting on well with their egg laying.  It will probably be the all island count next week....

The week ended with Michael's nth birthday (!).  His best present was a sliding bevel, kindly lent by Ted McKinley at Palmer, to replace the missing one here.

Rachel – and the team at Lockroy

Rachel organising medical supplies and inventories