Originally discovered in 1903 by a French Antarctic expedition, the port was named 'Port LaCroix' after Edouard LaCroix who helped finance the expedition. Over the years Port Lockroy found use as an anchorage by whalers and in 1944 became 'British Base A', the first of the more than 20 eventual British bases established in Antarctica. This base is now restored as a historic site which has a gift shop and the only public post office on the Antarctic peninula. Base A was part of a secret wartime project to monitor German shipping movements. After the close of World War II it functioned as a civilian research outpost and was eventually shut down in 1962. It sat abandoned until a British team renovated the historical site and opened it as a monument and museum in 1996.
The base is now manned by one man and three women (Rick, Jude, Laura, and Nikki) who all share one small room, each with a corner bunk. There is no running water at all on the base, so the residents have to rely on the kindness of visiting vessels for some of their basic needs. While we wanderd the gift shop and spent time with the penguins, the staff of Port Lockroy graciously took turns using the showers on our ship. They mentioned they were some of the nicest showers they'd used! While they're happy to be away from the temptations of the Internet and regular phone service, they use a satellite phone to send and receive emails and this turns out to be the favored method of keeping in contact with ships planning visits to the base, since it's tiring to constantly man a radio in an area where days can go by between transmissions.
All four stationed at the base are members of the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) and, in addition to their base duties, the three women are performing some observational research of the penguins who have choosen to nest on the island. Unfortunatly we don't remember all of the details of their research, but the idea was that with the historic site here, these penguins have seen more humans passing through than most, not the mention the four humans living among them. They are observing the effects of the human interaction on the penguins. We did not have to strictly follow the 15 foot rule with the penguins here though we were still asked to respect the penguins and their space and espeicaly not to disturb their nests. We personally still generally kept a comfortable distance from the penguins and only got closer if they came to us. So far the researchers have found no great changes among the penguins because of their human interaction, but I am not sure about how long they have been monitoring this.
For the past seven years, residents of Lockroy have kept a blog of sorts, and they mentioned our ship in their January entry. This is just part of the Port Lockroy web site. The Port Lockroy diaries are a nice read.
Two of a Kind - Two baby Gentoo penguins cuddled under their momma for warmth.
- Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Read the next chapter: Bonus Chapter: Baby Penguins!
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Telling the Story posted Jan 10, 2009
Day 0: Positioning posted Jan 12, 2009
Leaving, on a jet plane posted Jan 12, 2009
Day 1: The Herc posted Jan 15, 2009
Day 1: Penguino posted Jan 16, 2009
Day 2: Chicken posted Jan 17, 2009
Day 2: Leopard posted Jan 19, 2009
Day 2: Snow Day posted Jan 22, 2009
Day 2: Shipwreck posted Jan 26, 2009
Day 2: Totally Tabular posted Jan 27, 2009
Day 3: Gentoo Cute posted Jan 29, 2009
Day 3: Lichen Shag Glacier posted Feb 3, 2009
Day 3: Palmer Station Visit posted Feb 9, 2009
Day 4: Icy Penguins posted Feb 11, 2009
Day 4: Adelie Awesome posted Feb 15, 2009
Day 4: Leopard Seal Attack posted Feb 17, 2009
Day 4: Kayak posted Feb 19, 2009
Day 4: Vernadsky Station Visit posted Feb 23, 2009
Day 4: Vernadsky Sunset posted Feb 25, 2009
Day 5: Antarctic Circle posted Feb 27, 2009
Day 5: Polar Plunge posted Mar 5, 2009
Day 5: Mouth of The Gullet posted Mar 13, 2009
Day 5: Ice Camping posted Mar 18, 2009
Day 6: Flamingos on Ice posted Mar 20, 2009
Day 6: Mountain Climbing posted Mar 24, 2009
Day 6: Ice Textures posted Mar 26, 2009
Day 6: Antarctic New Years posted Apr 2, 2009
Day 7: Crystal Sound Icebreaker posted Apr 9, 2009
Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 1 posted Apr 17, 2009
Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 2 posted Apr 21, 2009
Day 8: Bird Watching in the Fish Islands posted Apr 23, 2009
Day 8: Icee Day - Part 1 posted May 5, 2009
Day 8: Icee Day - Part 2 posted May 11, 2009
» Day 9: Port Lockroy - Base A posted May 20, 2009
Bonus Chapter: Baby Penguins! posted May 21, 2009
Day 9: Antarctic Humpback Whales posted June 3, 2009
Day 9: Dallmann Butt Sliding posted June 11, 2009
Day 10: Birthday Whales posted June 23, 2009
Day 10: Hannah Point Part 1: The Birds posted July 15, 2009
Day 10: Hannah Point Part 2: Elephant Seals posted July 22, 2009
Day 10: Deception Island - Part 1: Walking on the Moon posted Dec 11, 2009
Day 10: Deception Island - Part 2: The Martian Chronicles of Oz posted Dec 15, 2009
Day 11: Emperor Penguins posted Jan 8, 2010
Day 12: Black and White and Pink All Over posted Aug 4, 2011
More chapters posted every few days...
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