After the wild winds of last weekend died down, the beautiful weather returned and Ben and Michael took the opportunity to go around the corner to do a bit of maintenance at Damoy hut. Damoy was used by BAS between 1975 and 1991 as a drop off point for personnel travelling down to Rothera base 240 miles further South. The men would come this far by ship, then wait at Damoy for a good weather window when a plane could come and pick them up and take them the rest of the journey. Michael actually spent five weeks in Damoy hut ‘back in the day’, so knows exactly what needs doing to keep the place in good shape. From Port Lockroy, we can see the huge glacier which the BAS planes used as a runway. Michael and Ben kept in touch with us while they were off base by walking up to the top of the glacier to get in
range to talk to us on the VHF radio. We were envious of them getting the chance to take a long walk and stretch their legs and when they returned, this envy got stronger as they recounted stories of the wonders that are to be seen on the other side of the glacier – Minke whales, elephant seals, fur seals and skua chicks to name but a few.
Whilst the boys were away, the ‘Ladies of Lockroy’ were also making the most of the sunshine. Now that the penguins are no longer nesting, we have been able to paint all the bits of Bransfield House and the Boatshed which have up to now been inaccessible. It has been really satisfying to finally put all the paint and brushes away, ready to leave the base looking really smart and the buildings protected before the winter.
We had a few unusual visitors on the island recently. I glanced out of the window the other day and was startled when I saw what looked like a large dog running over the rocks. On closer inspection it turned out to be a fur seal. We
don’t often get fur seals this far South but sometimes the young males come to explore after they have been pushed out of the breeding rookery by the more experienced bulls. Their appearance is quite different to the seals we are used to, with their long fur, ears and powerful foreflippers which they use to pull themselves along. The seal didn’t stay long, but Goudier Island has now become a temporary home to some new penguins! We have a group of chinstraps hanging out behind the Nissen Hut who have come here to moult. Unlike the gentoos, chinstraps like to leave their nesting colonies to moult. Perhaps to avoid potential mates seeing them looking so scruffy!
We’re now fast approaching the end of the season, it has really flown by. The nights are drawing in and on a clear night we can see the amazingly bright shining stars and moon. One more week to get everything in order ready for the arrival of next season’s team…