A Visit To Port Lockroy The British Base In Antarctica
(64.82° S, 63.49° W)
We landed on Goudier Island, greeted by gaggles of penguins and entered the British Base Port Lockroy. Port Lockroy now operates as a museum for visitors to learn about life on an Antarctic base in the early 1900s and is full of 1000s of historical artefacts.
To my amusement, you could even send a postcard home to friends and family. Although we were warned it might take up to 8 weeks for the mail to arrive at its destination, and I would be back in a week, I still put pen to paper to scribble my hellos. A staff of four typically process 70,000 pieces of mail sent by 18,000 visitors that arrive during the five month Antarctic cruise season.
Port Lockroy originally served as an anchorage for whalers until it was established as Base A by the British in 1944 and formed the foundations of Britain’s continued involvement in Antarctica for the last seventy years. It was instrumental as part of a secret wartime initiative; ‘Operation Tabarin’ to monitor German shipping movements. After World War II the station continued to operate in a civilian capacity until 1964, when it ceased operations.
The Trust also collects data for the British Antarctic Survey to observe the effect of tourism on penguins. Half the island is open to tourists, while the other half is reserved for penguins.
I visited Port Lockroy on Tuesday, 29th December 2015, from MS The World.