Port Lockroy and Beyond
Apart from humpbacks playing with our ship throughout the morning, a leopard seal playing with the zodiacs and near-perfect warm and windless conditions, it was a standard day in the Errera Channel and on Cuverville Island. And you have to love those Gentoo penguin chicks who don't know they are supposed to stay five metres away from humans. All in all, it was a glorious set of experiences. Can it get any better?
07:00 Breakfast will be available
08:30 Port Lockroy Presentation
09:00 Ashore on Port Lockroy and Jougla
Don't forget to take your postcards and letters to post at Port Lockroy and cash or credit cards if you want to use their shop.
13:00 Lunch is served
PM: HB sessions
If conditions allow, we might start our movement to the South, towards the Antarctic Circle.
19:00 Dinner is served
After Dinner. Fancy Dress Party.
Wiencke Island is named by De Gerlache (a Belgian explorer) after a young seaman who fell overboard in 1899. The island has a harbour on the West Coast where the tiny Goudier Island is situated. On Goudier, there is a cluster of buildings operated by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT). The most famous is Port Lockroy, named in 1904 after Edouard Lockroy who was influential in gaining funding for Jean-Baptiste Charcot's French Antarctic Expedition. This was formerly known as Base A, a former British station, now home to the penguin post office, a shop and museum. The area was a major harbour for whalers until around 1930, evidence of which can be seen today with chains and moorings visible in addition to many whale bones.
The site has also had some contest, originally claimed by an Argentine navy ship, who left a cylinder and claimed the territory. However, during WWII, Britain plotted a secret naval operation, unofficially called 'Operation Tabarin' after a Parisian nightclub. This saw the removal of the Argentine artefacts and established Base A, staffed almost continuously until 1962 before falling into disrepair. In 1996, the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) completed a full renovation. Since then, the base has operated in the austral summer months as a museum and post office.
Since 1995, the UKAHT staff on Goudier Island have been conducting long-term breeding studies on their colony of 800 pairs of gentoo penguins. No evidence of discernible impact from tourism has been observed, however, impact from environmental conditions including snow cover and krill abundance have been found to be relevant.
Bransfied House displays the history of this station, including clothing from Operation Tabarin, a wind-up HMV gramophone and a restored 'Beastie' which was scientific equipment for early upper-atmosphere research. Inside, as well as a three-room museum, is the Penguin Post Office, responsible for around 70,000 hand-stamped items of mail a year (and a shop). All the proceeds fund the museum operations and profit goes to conserving British historic sites on the peninsula. In order to manage the number of visitors, the UKAHT allows up to 350 people to visit a day (with no more than 60 ashore at once). The station is run by three full-time members of staff, who live in the Nissen hut.
In the afternoon HB sessions we worked on our visibility platform and visibility goal. Most people chose to align this with their work pillar of their strategic plan. We worked in pairs to develop our strategy and importantly, only once this was developed did we think of platform (often though of first). A big part of science leadership is being visible and having the courage to do this, part of the inspiration behind this blog.