The start of another season at Port Lockroy - 18 November 2012
The team is now at Port Lockroy
From Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, across the Drake Passage and finally to Port Lockroy-far more has happened than I can say.
Ushuaia: We had two days altogether to adopt the pronunciation 'Oooswaia' and to enjoy the comfort of siestas in the afternoon. Our hostel was perfect and we felt at east shoeless and/or asleep in the living room. We sealed our stomachs with Argentine beef, most notably 460 grams (over 1lb) each one night in celebration of Kath's birthday. The greatest sightseeing took place at breakfast from where we could spot ships coming in to dock. One morning, it was announced that 'Banco de Tierra del Fuego'; had arrived. Surprisingly, Anna had not heard of that one before and we all assumed it was set to make it's Antarctic debut. To our delight, Kath's binoculars had mistaken the said ship's bow for a nearby branch of an Argentinian bank across the street. Couple that with amusing efforts at Spanish and sandwiches the size of our faces, we had a very easy and happy time. The calm before the storm.
The Drake passage lived up to its reputation as something to be endured rather than enjoyed but we were extremely grateful to One Ocean and Polar Latitudes for looking after us so well before our final disembarkation until March 2013. The shock of our final arrival here has yet to sink in despite hours of snow shovelling and driving the old dog sledge full of our cargo (thank you, Hurtigruten Fram) through a blizzard the minute we arrived.
Any measure of time is warped given a total immersion into alien tasks, long daylight hours and the absence of a watch. However, encounters with previous Lockroy residents, Rod and Nigel, have been a great reminder of the history that has gone before us and how much of it there is to preserve for our visitors to enjoy. It will also remain a surprise to look up from the shop window to the sight of our waddling penguin neighbours. Other wildlife has proven more intrusive with a sheathbill invasion this morning causing havoc with what they left behind-a more appropriate name for these birds has now been issued. That aside, island life has matched the expectations of the last five months. And we've barely scratched the surface.