Port Lockroy seems to be the place to be in Antarctica at the moment. This week there has barely been any time at all when there hasn’t been zodiacs jostling for space at the landing site. As well as the usual visits from cruise ships and sailing yachts, we’ve welcomed the British Navy from HMS Protector, the Chilean Navy from their ship Lautaro and even a group of four people who are kayaking and camping their way around the peninsula.
Along with all the visitors, we have also received some deliveries. Flo was excited to finally open this year's First Day Covers – stamps which have been cancelled on the first day of issue. One of our new stamps features a photograph of the HMS Protector, and luckily, as Protector was still in the bay when the stamps arrived, Flo was able to go on board and give the crew the opportunity to be amongst the first people to buy some of these special stamps.
Also arriving on the island this week was the Antarctic Treaty Site Guideline Review Team. They have been travelling aboard the HMS Protector, visiting some of the most popular destinations on the peninsula in order to make sure the guidelines currently in place are still appropriate. One member of the group, Kim Crosbie, was left behind at Port Lockroy and we are very pleased to have her as a temporary member of our team here. Not only is she good fun, but she is also a fantastic dish washer and great at scrubbing the rocks!
In our ship-free moments, we have been able to carry out some important work. One of these tasks was a thorough safety check of our immersion suits. We all got kitted up and made our way into the sea. Whilst making sure the suits were water tight (unfortunately Florence discovered that hers wasn’t…) we had the chance to use some snorkel masks lent to us by the National Geographic Explorer to examine our undersea world.
Although there are a few penguin eggs still to hatch, our first chicks are really quite big now and some are starting to make their first wobbly steps out of the nest. On Friday it was time to carry out the total island chick count. We carefully looked in every nest and discovered that we have 798 chicks in 525 nests, giving an average of 1.52 chicks per nest which is an extremely positive result.
After all the hard work, it feels like a month has been compressed into this week, but it's been a good one!