Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Our last day in Antarctica

The weather continued to be fine today with calm conditions all day. We had bright cloud overhead which made the photography particularly good as the light was not harsh.

Our first landing was at the British base A at Port Lockroy, which was named by Charcot for Edouard Lockroy, French politician and Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, who assisted Charcot in obtaining government support for his expedition. The base houses living quarters maintained in original style, an official British Post Office, and a well-supplied gift shop, and is run by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (http://www.ukaht.org/). People tend to choose to build Antarctic bases in places that are free of ice and this is the sort of habitat that penguins prefer as well. It is no surprise then to see penguins (Gentoo) nesting all around Base A, seemingly oblivious to the comings and goings of people. In amongst the Gentoos scurried several, all-white Snowy Sheathbills.

In the afternoon we landed at the Argentinian base Almirante Brown. This was our only landing on the Antarctic continent itself, so was a hige thrill for everyone. People walked up the hill just behind the station and had a magnificent view of Paradise Bay. After a fun slide down the hill, we went for a boat cruise to see spectacular glaciers descending into the sea.