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Solo Claire

Antarctica - Last landing - Port Lockroy

ANTARCTICA | Saturday, 27 December 2008 | Views [756]

We were awoken, again very early, by Chris wishing us `Good Morning´.  His voice is far more effective than any alarm clock I have ever used.  We were to visit Wiencke Island and Port Lockroy this morning.  The custodian of Port Lockroy came aboard to explain the history of this British base and how it had been meticulously restored.  We landed first on Wiencke on saw numerous Gentoos nesting alongside Blue-eyed Shags, both species nurturing their chicks.  We also saw an Elephant Seal – our first.  It was only a juvenile, however, so it didn´t have the disproportionately large proboscis which an adult does.  The numerous whalebones attested to the destructive impulses of mankind.  Over 90% of all whales were eliminated.  While our sightings have been amazing, I can’t begin to imagine how spectacular it was when whales were abundant.

            Then we were ferried across to Port Lockroy and explored Bransfield House.  We became tourists again rather than expeditionists as we browsed in the museum, had our passports stamped and even posted postcards.  We returned to the ship a slightly pensive group as this was to be our last landing.  We spent the afternoon enjoying the scenery, seabirds, penguins and occasional whale sightings as the ship travelled nothwards.  We were privileged to watch a short film that Chris, our expedition leader, had recorded about the the escapades of Douglas Mawson during the Australasian Antarctic Expedition.  It was exceptionally well made and gave us an insight into the horrendous conditions endured by early explorers.  Our cosy dining room offered a great contrast between his and our expeditions.


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