Mawlers’ Big Adventure ’06:

The Mawlers Go Bi-polar

Yalour Islands Around-the-World Shot

Port Lockroy 12/12/06

Port Lockroy as seen from the ship. Lea Ann visited Port Lockroy, while Stuart was off galavanting (more on that later). The morning was bright and sunny, and everyone was very excited because Port Lockroy was our opportunity to have a Post Office at our disposal.

Port Lockroy was a British outpost (where the sun really never set on the British Empire...) but was closed about 30 years ago. Then, the Brits decided to refurbish and preserve several of the closed stations/outposts on the Antarctic Peninsula as historical sites.

Port Lockroy is the primary site, and it has been painstakingly restored, now housing a museum which consists of the furnishings and equipment that would have been used at the outpost when it was functional, a gift shop, and a post office. The gift shop has lots of items that are insanely expensive, but then again, they have to get them there. Lea Ann bought a map published by the British Antarctic Survey. It seemed like a really detailed map of where we were, and the proceeds from this one gift shop support all of the Antarctic Historical Sites.

It is sort of interesting to consider that this gift shop supports all of the historical sites... It's because there are actually quite a lot of tourists that pass through here. Estimates vary, but go as high as 35,000 tourists a year visiting Antarctica, and Port Lockroy is very popular, since it has a Post Office.

A block of British Antarctic Stamps The Post Office is just a mailbox in the hallway of the main building. You buy British Antarctic stamps from the gift shop for $1 USD (they also accept British Pounds Sterling), and then drop your cards into the box. They are picked up and go to the Falkland Islands, where they are picked up and taken to the U.K., where they are sent back to the states, or where ever they were bound. Um. Yeah. I'm guessing those postcards will get there in July.

The Union Jack surrounded by a group of loyal subjects of the crown. The pictures sort of give it away, but this was the first place we saw penguin chicks. The penguins apparently didn't have a colony here until after the outpost was closed (before it was reopened as a historical site). At one of the historical sites, the Brits left a stash of coal (quite a bit, actually), but after many years, the penguins found it, and thought it would make great stones for their nests. Now there is coal scattered throughout the penguin colony. The penguins here at Port Lockroy (Gentoos) were completely unbothered by the people wandering around. Their nests are right up by the building, the walkway, and (see photo...) all around the Union Jack.

The previous installment:
Graham Passage & Neumayer Channel

The next installment:
Port Lockroy Parade of Penguins

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All materials © 2006 Lea Ann Mawler & Stuart Mawler