Letter from Lockroy - December 19th 2010

Letter from Lockroy  - 19 December 2010

 This week has seen the team re-united, working hard and welcoming more ships to our shores.  The week started with fair weather and a ship-free day, enabling the three remaining members of the Lockroy team to begin sanding and painting the windows and facade of Bransfield House.  The Damoy team, meanwhile, were finishing up at Dorian Bay, having been there for a week instead of the predicted three days!  They radioed in from the ridge for what we hoped would be the last time.  And indeed it was.  The following morning, on Monday 13th, the majestic Bark Europa sailed into the Bay, and Expedition Leader Mike was only too happy to lend a hand in picking up the Damoy team.  Ylva was overjoyed, having visited Antarctica last year on the Bark.  Hen, Nikki and Hannele went aboard for a talk in the cosy surroundings and were appropriately reunited with Ylva on the deck.  Michael and Liesl were dropped off shortly afterwards.  After a characteristically laid-back visit, the team welcomed the Fram in the afternoon.  That evening we were all invited aboard the Bark and we all enjoyed good company and conversation.  Michael and Liesl especially enjoyed a tour around Europa by Sam, the chippy.  They were to be seen admiring his work gleefully for most of the evening and left with big grins on their faces! 

Michael radioing Port Lockroy from the top of the ridge on Wiencke Island      Bark Europa at anchor in the back bay 

This was not to be the only social evening this week, as the following day we welcomed the Polar Star in the afternoon, complete with the ship's owner, Martin Karlsson.  All six of the team were invited aboard for a barbeque.  Hen was delighted at the fantastic cheese spread, including an unusual caramelised goats cheese from Norway!  We were entertained by Ian Tamblyn, a musician who played the guitar and sang.  He did some songs particularly for the Port Lockroy crew, including a Polar Star favourite about a gentoo penguin.  Michael and Lisel charmed everyone with their dancing – no mean feat considering Liesl was in crocs!

                                                    Michael & Liesl 

On Wednesday 15th Prince Albert II arrived, and the team were invited aboard for both breakfast and lunch.  News then reached the team that Rick Atkinson would be visiting the following day on the National Geographic Explorer.  Rick's arrival was greeted with excited anticipation, and special efforts were made to welcome him ashore the next day, as Hen made pancakes for breakfast.  Rick seemed impressed with the progress that has been made on the interior of the Nissen Hut.  The National Geographic also carried Peter Hilary, who remarked on how Port Lockroy gets better each time he sees the place!  The team welcomed the Akademik Ioffe in the afternoon, and Hen and Hannele got to spend a little time at Jougla Point – thanks to Lynn and the expedition team for the invitation! The evening ended with another barbeque, and a sauna that delighted Hannele and Ylva – and a zodiac tour by Jamie, who took us over to harbour glacier and to Bill's Island!  The penguin count also finally showed that the screen colony had reached 95% eggs today,meaning that we need to do a whole island count soon. 

                                                      Rick Atkinson

Friday 18th saw the team have a ship visit very early indeed.  Luckily, the Plancius  expedition team, headed by Troels, brought coffee and pastries for the team to carry us through until breakfast.  After the visit, we had a moment of reflection, having heard the terrible news that the polish sailing yacht Naszachata had had a terrible accident at Harberton, resulting in the loss of several crew members.  The yacht had visited Lockroy on 7th December, and all the crew had come ashore and visited the museum and shop.  The news was therefore especially poignant, and our thoughts are with their families.

Today has been mostly fair with a chance to get on with some more maintenance on Bransfield House, including continuing with the window frame painting.  The Christmas decorations were finally taken out of the boatshed, and Hannele made pizza for the team – contributing to the new tradition of pizza Saturday!  It has been an eventful week of welcoming back friends and being reminded of the fragility of human life.   Best wishes to everyone we have left at home from all here at Lockroy.

This week we welcomed back the yacht Spirit of Sydney, skippered by Darrel Day and Cath Hew.  They had spent some days around the Peninsula, with Phil Wickens leading a group of ambitious climbers from the historic Alpine Club (Mike Fletcher, Derek Buckle, Stu Gallagher, Dave Wynne-Jones, Richmond MacIntyre, Oly Metherell).  They had the most wonderful weather window for around 10 days, giving them the chance to make an unprecedented number of first ascents, including Mt. Matin SW Ridge (2400m), Mt. Nygren East Ridge (1450m), Mt. False Shackleton North Face and East Ridge (1480m), Mt Cloos South Summit East Face(980m), Mt Cloos Main Summit East Ridge (1200m), Mt Banck NE Face (675m - third ascent,after Belgian and New Zealand ascents), Mt Inverleith North Face (2040m), and also our very own Jabet Peak.  Our many congratulations to them all - what an amazing achievement!

 From Hen