Antarctic Fox
The log of Rachel and Kevin Fox's trip to the Antarctic Peninsula in the Summer of 2008-9
Day 9: Port Lockroy - Antarctic Base A
January 3 - Port Lockroy, the Antarctic Peninsula

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.

Port Lockroy

Port Lockroy - Historical Port Lockroy in Antarctica. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Sailing Antarctica

Sailing Antarctica - This is brave and crazy as far as I'm concerned. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Lockroy Weather Station

Lockroy Weather Station - Recording the barometric pressure and temperature throughout teh year, this was one of the most vital (and most expensive) pieces of equipment in the station. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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General Post!

General Post! - As one of only a few functioning post offices on the entire continent, Port Lockroy sends handles dozens of postcards a week, and almost nothing else. From here the postcards get ferried once every two weeks to the Falkland Islands, and from there to England, no matter where their final destination may be. We beat our postcards home by about three weeks, which is still pretty fast by Antarctic standards! - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Lockroy Kitchen

Lockroy Kitchen - This is what Base W's kitchen might have looked like before 50 years of neglect. For comparison, here's Base W's kitchen today: www.flickr.com/photos/person/3462273806/ - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Mistletoe is Not Native to Antarctica

Mistletoe is Not Native to Antarctica - Port Lockroy was Base of all the British bases in Antarctica. Now it is a preserved historic base with the only public post office in Antarctica. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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You Lookin' At Me?

You Lookin' At Me? - Gentoo penguin checking me out. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Against The Blue Sky

Against The Blue Sky - Port Lockroy Antarctica. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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A Nest With A View

A Nest With A View - Gentoo penguins nesting at Port Lockroy, Antarctica. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Behind The Camera

Behind The Camera - Kevin taking shots of the Gentoo penguins at Port lockroy. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Shut up shut up shut up

Shut up shut up shut up - Somebody's *always* hungry! - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Future's so bright I gotta wear shades!

Future's so bright I gotta wear shades! - This is one of the rare pictures where you can clearly see the penguin's brown shaded lenses and tight, tight star-shaped iris. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Happy feet?

Happy feet? - Since most of the Penguin's predators are inthe water, it's more important that their feet help them outswim a seal than win any landlubber beauty contests! Interestingly, though birds and seals will pick a Penguin carcass clean, nobody seems to be interested in giving the feet a try. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Tim and Port Lockroy Base

Tim and Port Lockroy Base - I don't think that man can be outside in nature and *not* have a smile on his face! Incidentally, we found his father's book on Antarctic wildlife in the base gift shop. It now sits in our library! - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Honey! You're home!

Honey! You're home! - A penguin celebrates the return of their (unseen) partner. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Cross Country Penguin

Cross Country Penguin - Gentoo penguin running on the rocks of Port Lockroy - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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I think I found your keys, mommy!

I think I found your keys, mommy! - Oh wait, that was just your tongue. But check out all the food behind it! How far does the rabbit hole go? And what's a rabbit? - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Harmony

Harmony - These penguins, along with hundreds of other breeding pairs, live comfortably amidst the station and its occasional visitors. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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This Way to the Baths Guys

This Way to the Baths Guys - Gentoo pengins heading to the shore for their turn to bath and fish. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Ready to Travel

Ready to Travel - Old sled and supplies left from when Port Lockroy was an active research base. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Erosion of Man

Erosion of Man - One striking takeaway from Antarctica is how it rejects the things of man. It's a constant battle to fight off the gradual dismantling of all things man on this continent, leaving only the natural ecosystem to continue as it has for millennia. Here's hoping that doesn't change. - Photo by Kevin 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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