11 February 2016

Radio contact made

This week began with a visit from Rachel Morgan, the former director of the UKAHT who was on board FRAM as a guest lecturer. Whilst she knows Port Lockroy better than we do, we did enjoy showing her the newly acquired artefacts in the museum: the typewriter in the base leader’s office and the headphones in the Ionospherics room. We had some contact with the UK when Iain spoke to BBC radio Lincolnshire and told them all about what life is like for us here. It is amazing that whilst being all the way down here and cut off from the world, we can still speak to family and friends back home via the satellite phone. We’ve also enjoyed listening to the BBC World Service via the B28 radio and have now caught up with news from the real world - the rugby scores we are getting from other sources though!

Wednesday was a ship free/maintenance day and we woke up to beautiful sunshine so Adele and I found our overalls and cracked on with painting Bransfield House. It was a brilliant day to be on the roof and paint so I felt very lucky as all around us we heard the rumbles of Harbour glacier calving and avalanches off Mt Luigi! Iain and Rachel wandered around the island at low tide doing our monthly beach survey where we look for any debris that may have washed up. All our data is reported to CCAMLR – the Committee for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Whilst doing so they got to watch the two skua chicks wander around all camouflaged amongst the rocks on Bills Island which we can only reach at low tide. We also have some other little chicks underneath Bransfield House but these are sheathbill chicks, at the moment they are little brown balls of feathers but soon they will turn white like their parents.

We’re hoping to see the sight of four kayaks in the bay soon as 4 expedition crew from FRAM are spending three weeks exploring the Peninsula up close. Their support yacht Dagma Aaen visited us this week and dropped off a few supplies for them here at Port Lockroy so we should see them soon for a nice cup of tea!

The penguins are as brilliant as ever, now quite a few are moulting and sit very still whilst they lose a feathery layer, looking rather unhappy with themselves. This does mean that when the wind picks up we have feathers flying everywhere as well as the chicks running after their parents all over the island! We will soon be doing our final island chick count where we count the number of chicks in their crèches (little gangs!), we’re hoping for a cold or windy day so that the chicks are huddled together instead of running all over the island!

To end the week we had a great visit from Hanse Explorer with some lovely guests on board who kindly invited us on for showers, dinner and a cruise! We hardly leave Goudier Island and although we love being here, it is nice to explore a bit of the area so we headed down the Peltier Channel and off to the Lemaire Channel. Famous for its spectacular scenery and narrow passage it really was an amazing few hours and whilst the tops of the mountains were shrouded in clouds, it reminded us of the Scottish Highlands so we felt quite at home!

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