Port Lockroy on Goudier Island, and Jougla Point, Lemaire Channel
We anchored near Port Lockroy on Goudier Island and Jugla Point. We dressed for our kayak excursion and went to the lounge to listen to the presentation by the representative of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. She explained what they are and that she is one of 4 spending the summer on Port Lockroy. As soon as she finished her talk, we headed to meet our kayak guides, Tara and Todd to go paddling!
We went kayaking all around Port Lockroy and Goudier Island. The winds were light and we only had a small wind chop. From the kayaks we spotted gentoo penguins, Antarctic fur seal, snowy sheathbill, blue-eyed shag, south polar skua, brown skua, Weddell seal, and the Wilson’s storm petrel. Goudier Island, also known as Port Lockroy, was the site for the original Base A. It has been refurbished with a museum and gift shop. We explored the geological features on the backside of Goudier Island. We continued around the island and crossed over to Jougla Point where we observed some nesting shags and soon to be fledgling Gentoo penguins.
When we finished our paddling, we headed to shore to explore the museum and mail our postcards.
When we visited the museum at Port Lockroy it was very interesting. The former base was renovated and opened as a monument and museum in 1996. Below are some pictures from the museum.
It also has the Penguin Post Office that the summer team manages and hand stamps. As far as we know it is the southernmost post office.
Port Lockroy museum and post office is operated by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust. There are 4 women that run the museum and post office during the summer season, from November to March. They have no running water. They get to take a shower when a ship makes an excursion to the island! There is also no central heating, no phone signal, and no means of communication with the world other that VHF radio and satellite phones for emergencies. And no darkness either, it is pretty much 24 hours a day of daylight. You also don’t have electricity that comes from a power station and no flushing toilet, it is a camping type toilet. They also have a gentoo colony that lives all around them so they need to clean the penguin poo off the pathways while following the strict Antarctic Treaty to ensure strict guidelines on the care of the environment are adhered to!
After lunch we cruised through the Lemaire Channel. The sun wasn’t shining but the views were stunning! The Lemaire Channel is 7 miles long by 1 mile wide!
The ship dropped anchor at Pleneau Bay which is located at the southern end of the Lemaire Channel. This area is filled with stunning icebergs. These large icebergs get blown in here, they run aground and slowly break up. The pictures below show just a few of the icebergs and the surrounding area! We were awestruck by the beauty! We had difficulty choosing just a “few” of the various icebergs and surroundings pictures that we took!
We spent our time at Pleneau Bay paddling through brash ice and being surrounded by swimming penguins that were feeding on krill.
We also saw a leopard seal resting on some ice. We didn’t disturb him.
At one point while we were all surrounded by the brash ice, Todd had us all put down our paddles and listen to the ice. We heard “snap, crackle, and pop”! It was quite a sensory overload!
While paddling in the bay, our point and shoot camera, came loose and fell into the water! We were sad about its loss but it was an older camera and had served us well. We also had downloaded everything on the card before going kayaking this afternoon. Life is too short to worry about the small stuff! Even though we lost the camera, this was one of our favorite paddles! It started to snow as we were out there which just added to the magic of this surreal environment. It was incredibly beautiful, peaceful, relaxing, and pristine environment. We can’t think of enough adjectives to describe our surroundings!
Our dinner today was a BBQ on the aft deck. It was snowing and the views were stunning! A minke whale was playing around the ship and even breached! It was quite entertaining.
After dinner, Mike, our glaciologist, did a presentation about his time in Antarctica working at one of the Australian research stations. We decided after his talk that spending a winter in Antarctica takes a special type of person! We don’t qualify!
What an exhilarating today! We slept very well.