Port Lockroy Diaries week One

As our team are conserving Base A on Goudier Island we will be updating diary entries from the team. #PortLockroyDiaries will keep you up to date with what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen with this remarkable base. 

 

21 October 2018
Uploading

After months of preparation, the conservation team are finally together in Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Michael and Geoff were the first to arrive and spent two weeks working solidly, sorting and packing the conservation team’s equipment, materials and food for the season ahead. With the support of the Royal Navy and the Marines, the cargo and team will be transported down to Port Lockroy onboard HMS Protector. Al and Adele arrived just in time to help oversee the loading of the cargo on to the ship. A priority task this season is the upgrading of the Port Lockroy solar power system, so the team held their breath as the extremely heavy batteries and fragile solar panels were craned from the port side into the hold. There was no need to worry though, the Navy ran a very smooth operation. The cargo is loaded and the team will be ready to set sail in a few days’ time.

22 October 2018
Sweeping

Al has a saying, ‘the carpenter’s job’s not done until the sawdust is swept’. With this in mind, our task for today was to ‘sweep the sawdust’ at the warehouse in Stanley where the remaining conservation team equipment is being stored. We completed records for our inventories and did final sorting of the warehouse to leave it tidy and secure ready for the 2019/20 season.

23 October 2018
Stamp Duty

One of the things that people love about Port Lockroy is the post office, which was originally established during Operation Tabarin when Base A was built on Goudier Island. Every season Stanley Post Office supply Port Lockroy with the season’s stock of stamps and First Day Cover collectables. Today, with the help of Sally Owen, a member of the UKAHT team based in Stanley, Adele collected the 15 mail bags and large cases of post office supplies. There is excitement amongst the team who are curious to see the heroic explorer themed First Day Cover, perhaps not surprising from a team of Antarctic heritage conservators!

24 October 2018
R&R

An important part of ensuring a successful season is maintaining a balance between working and making time to relax and recharge. With the cargo loading and team planning meetings complete, we took the chance of good weather to go for a day hike to explore local landmarks, beauty spots and wildlife sites. The coastline is a stunning mix of emerald seas, golden lichens, waves crashing against rugged rocks, and gentle tides lapping onto golden sandy beaches. Stretches of the coast around Stanley remain inaccessible due to the potential presence of landmines left over from the 1982 conflict. In many cases, the absence of people has resulted in the unplanned creation of wildlife havens, with native birds and plants thriving. Climbing to the top of the historic lighthouse at Cape Pembroke provided a stunning panoramic view, with a soundtrack of roaring fighter jets circling the island on training flights. The sights and sounds of the day encompassed so much of what defines the Falklands Islands’ natural and cultural history.

25 October 2018
All our bags are packed and we’re ready to go

Final packing today. Tomorrow we embark. The storms are expected in the Drake Passage. Those of us in the team who get a little seasick are hoping for the best.

26 October 2018
All aboard

With everything ready for our departure, the team jumped at the chance of an impromptu morning of sea kayaking. It was a perfect way to see some coastal wildlife and say a farewell to the Falklands. By 4pm we were onboard HMS Protector being welcomed by the ship’s company.

27 October 2018
Setting sail

With strong winds forecast for the Drake Passage, the Captain made the decision to leave port ahead of schedule to outrun the worst of the weather. Whilst leaving harbour the crew and officers ran fire and man overboard drills before we headed out into the open ocean.

Read next week's blog

Read what the team got up to in week two.

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