A long awaited spell of good weather has allowed us to get loads of painting done this week, Michael and Claire also did some general maintenance work on the sledges. It's starting to look like we might actually get through the work list by the end of the season! Cat, Kath and Ylva grabbed the chance to go camping during this calm spell. Some of the expedition team from Fram were planning a camping trip over at Dorian Bay, so we quickly packed up our sleeping bags and joined them. To our surprise, we were cosy and warm and had a really good night's sleep. The Fram team had to get back to the ship at 4.30AM, so we were all up to watch a beautiful sunrise before being dropped back at base. We got straight to work and had the shop restocked and ready for the next visit before waking up the others for an early breakfast.
The penguin chicks have grown enormously and have become very curious. They are running around all over the place and seem very keen to pick up our buckets and brooms and help scrub the rocks! On Thursday we met one of last year's Port Lockroy team! Hen is working on Le Boreal, and it was really exciting for Ylva to be reunited with her and for the rest of the team to finally meet someone who we feel that we already know from reading last year's blogs.
We had another exciting visitor on Friday. Ian Rushby, one of the Trustees, arrived on the Ushuaia. He was dropped off at 8am, which gave us the chance to give him a tour before the rest of the passengers arrived for their visit. Ylva showed him many aspects of how we operate. Ian kindly brought us some equipment we need, and we all enjoyed chatting to him over coffee in the Nissen. After we waved Ian goodbye, Michael and Ylva finished their preparations for a trip to Damoy hut. L'Austral arrived in the afternoon and kindly gave them a lift round in a zodiac. It seems very quiet without them, but we didn't have long to dwell on their absence. After L'Austral had finished their visit, Expedition turned up. We had reached our maximum passenger numbers on the island for the day, so offered to bring Port Lockroy to them instead. We went onboard armed with a selection of items from the shop. Kath and Claire set up the mobile shop whilst Cat gave a fantastic talk. Our onboard shop was very well-received, and everyone was happy to get the chance to send their postcards even if they didn't get the chance to land. The evenings are beginning to draw in, we came back to base as the light was fading and had to cash up and restock in the dark. Despite this, we managed to get most of the stock in the correct places ready for an early visit from Silver Explorer the following morning.
On Saturday afternoon, we had a visit from Las Palmas, a Spanish research ship. It was a really interesting visit, especially as some of the scientists are also involved in study of the impact of tourism on penguins. It was great to hear about how their work and they seemed to enjoy looking at the old science equipment in the museum.
Inbetween all the ship visits, Cat managed to cancel a record number of mail items in one evening - 1253!