True to the spirit of white continent Antarctica, the panoramic view I sealed in my camera and in my memory, was spectacular milky white. This is Port Lockroy situated at Gaudier Island of Antarctica.
Port Lockroy, a site reflecting British military might. A site reflecting advance scientific researches. A site reflecting dedication to conservation. A brainy site in Antarctica, as I see it. Lot much happened here, in past. And lot much, still, is happening here.
Port Lockroy is a natural harbour on the north western side of Wiencke Island. Port Lockroy was established during World War 2nd as British military base in Antarctica. Bransfield House on Port Lockroy was the permanent structure of British government in Antarctic Peninsula. Later, Bransfield House was used for British scientific researches which continued till year 1962.
British Station A, on Port Lockroy is the historic site No. 61, under the Antarctic Treaty. Following the conservation survey of Antarctica in the year 1994, this honour was awarded to British Station A, after considering its historic importance.
I was very excited while visiting Port Lockroy as previous day during recap session, expedition leader talked in detail about British base. He also talked about Gentoo penguins behaving in exceptionally friendly manner at Port Lockroy.
Landing area at Port Lockroy was not very safe so everyone had to wear safety vest while moving around on island. As I neared Bransfield House, the British Station A building, I noticed penguins roam free everywhere, unlike other islands where they stick to their trail. Most surprising was the scene when I saw penguin standing in museum building entrance, not bothered by the visitor entering in museum. Though Port Lockroy is a breeding area for Gentoo penguins but I spotted Chinstrap penguins, also.
In the year 1996, British Station A, on Port Lockroy was restored as a living museum which is operated by United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT). Port Lockroy is perhaps the most significant historic site in Antarctica. And most popular, too, amongst visiting travelers.
Visiting museum was a very learning experience for me. Every room and each equipment used are placed as used to be when base was in use. Original pictures adorn walls. Even the clothing used by staff is hanging in bunk room. Minutest detail has been taken care of.
For visitors, Port Lockroy is a destination to get more info on continent Antarctica. In accordance with the Antarctic Treaty, UKAHT monitors environmental impacts of visitors and ships in the continent. And acts as a regulator to safeguard the ecology of Antarctica.
There is still more to know about Port Lockroy that I will carry in next post….
MY ANTARCTICA ODYSSEY continues ….