Sunday 4th to Saturday 11th February 2012
Our good luck with the weather continued this week as we only had a couple of windy and wet days so Ylva, Kath and Claire took the opportunity to finish painting the exterior walls and window frames of the Boatshed and nearly all of Bransfield House. We also finished painting the ‘heads’ (old toilet) in the museum. Michael made a new cupboard in the workshop to hide the modern equipment for when we open this room as part of the museum.
Michael also made frames for the display panels in the museum and did a major tidy-up of the workshop. Cat cleaned the moss off our second sledge, and then coated it with raw linseed oil to protect it.
As well as welcoming eight cruise ships and two yachts, we also had a surprise visit from our ‘neighbouring’ Chilean and Argentinean bases in Paradise Bay, Gonzalez Videla and Admiralty Brown. Three of their personnel jumped in a zodiac and drove for three hours to visit us. They chose an excellent day as the sun was shining brightly. It was fantastic to meet them, and have all three countries who have a claim on this sector of Antarctica together amicably represented. That afternoon Clipper Adventurer came to visit and was kind enough to bring Michael and Ylva back from Damoy where they had been doing maintenance work.
On Wednesday we had a visit from Sea Spirit and the passengers were so impressed with our work at Port Lockroy and by the UKAHT that we welcomed our 100th member to the trust this season. Thank you to everyone who has joined!
Our penguin chicks are growing fast and have been gathering in crèches while both parents go out to sea to feed and bring back food to re-gurgitate. Many of them are moulting their juvenile coats Claire, Kath and Ylva went ahead with the whole island chick crèche count, our last penguin count of this season. But this is easier said than done as the chicks are now fully mobile and kept running in and out of the area being counted! But after a lot of double checking we managed to count all the chicks on Goudier Island and there are 688 chicks in total. This means 67% of the eggs counted in November have successfully made it to chicks in crèches. On the island there are also five Sheathbill nests with over seven young across them.
On Friday Ylva, Kath, Cat and Claire had the rather smelly job of emptying old food cans, with rotting contents that Michael and Ylva brought back from Damoy. Armed with rubber gloves and dressed in overalls, the job was done in no time at all, and thankfully with our nostrils just about still intact. Just as we finished the job, the yacht Anna Mari arrived with four Ukrainian scientists from Vernadsky station. Karel, Igor, Dimitri and Andrei. These are the four scientists that were dropped off at Vernadsky with Rachel and Michael in mid December. They will be staying with us for a few days while waiting for a ship to take them home. It would be a tight squeeze in the limited space available at Port Lockroy but we were happy to help out our neighbours in an emergency situation. They settled in straight away and even helped out by licking and sticking stamps onto postcards!