In true Port Lockroy style we didn’t waste any time on Sunday showing our newest recruit, Anja, the ropes and set her straight to work scrubbing the rocks in front of Bransfield House free of penguin guano ready for visits from Hanse Explorer and Polar Pioneer. She was welcomed as part of the team immediately and enjoyed an excellent dinner (and well-received shower) on Polar Pioneer. It was a spectacular evening, with stunning sunshine showing off the surrounding mountains and snow cliffs so we took the opportunity to sit on the rocks at Chains Landing with a Gin and Tonic and toasted an excellent day!
Everyone took advantage of the continued good weather on Monday morning by getting on with outside jobs. Michael and Claire started replacing the second half of the workshop roof while Cat, Kath and Anja continued painting Bransfield House. Ylva joined Kath from Spirit of Sydney (a sailing yacht) and they managed to get a great view of the nearly 40 seals lazing on various passing ice floes. The team also spotted a giant petrel, a Wilson’s storm petrel, roughly 30 antarctic terns flying over Bills Island and even a visiting chinstrap penguin! But alas, the good weather and wildlife spotting wasn’t to continue, as unfortunately the wind whipped up and rain started falling. Michael and Claire won the battle with the tarpaulin and managed to cover the exposed workshop roof before any damage could be done.
On Tuesday we were privileged to attend a wedding at Jougla Point conducted by the captain of Sea Spirit. Cat, Kath and Claire went onboard afterwards for a BBQ lunch and shower before the next visitors of the day arrived on Ocean Nova. They also brought us a seventh member of the team, Jonathan Selby, who is staying for six days to fit a webcam and a wind turbine to power it. That evening everyone went onboard for dinner followed by an Antarctic quiz which was won by Kath, Michael and Anja’s team!
Jonathan didn’t waste any time getting the wind turbine put up on the back deck of the Nissen Hut and the cables connected. Michael then made a box to house the camera and fixed it to the anemometer tower. Various teething problems are being ironed out but the UKAHT hopes to use it to see the snow conditions on the island ahead of each season.
Claire, Kath and Anja have been taking turns in the workshop as one of our tasks is to turn the working workshop into a part of the museum. We have been given some old photos of the workshop back in the 40s and have been painting and sorting artefacts to get the workshop ready for visitors next season. Cat has been busy dusting the whole museum and redisplaying artefacts. She has also been franking and cancelling lots more mail and we have all been sorting out the waste ready for HMS Protector who are picking it up next week.
The excitement continued with a very special visit from Mina II, a yacht which had sailed from Ushuaia to present the UKAHT with a special plaque from the Royal Cruising Club. The plaque is to commemorate a very brave member of their club, Captain Lawrence Oates, who sadly died on the return from Scott’s expedition to the South Pole in 1912. He is well-known for his final quote “I am just going outside and may be some time”. While the crew had a tour around the museum, we took turns to observe a lazy leopard seal on an ice floe very close to the shore. We were all in awe of just how huge it was, and how sharp its teeth looked. Later that evening Cat, Kath, Ylva, Jonathan and Claire went onboard Mina II to toast the day’s ceremony and welcome the fact that they are the only British yacht permitted to sail to Antarctica this year.
Being in the peak of the Antarctic summer, we also welcomed many other yachts to Port Lockroy who visited at various times across the week, some coming back a few times as they remembered more people to send postcards to! One particular yacht, the Pelagic Australis, kept coming back for another reason. They were filming a 3D film on the Antarctic Peninsula and included footage of Port Lockroy. We hope Cat’s big scene cancelling postcards gets into the final cut and they are able to inspire people from all over the world to visit our museum, send great postcards and help to support our Antarctic Heritage for years to come!