Journey to Antarctica (Part III): Port Lockroy & Neko Harbour

The next stop on our Antarctic expedition was Port Lockroy, a harbour where the British established their first research base in Antarctica back in 1944. Initially the base, under the false guise of a research facility, was used by the British to secretly monitor German shipping movements during World War II. After the war, the base was used as a research station until 1962. With the help of renovation efforts back in 1996, the base is now a historic site that has a gift shop as well as the only active public post office on the Antarctic peninsula (although they say it does take a long time before your mail will arrive at its intended destination).

As usual, we were greeted by some friendly penguins when we landed on the shore…

We were told that supposedly tourism to Port Lockroy has had a positive effect on the penguin population near the base, probably because the presence of human visitors serve to deter birds that prey on baby penguins and penguin eggs (Wikipedia also confirmed this!).

The penguins simply go about their business as we walked around the base.

Inside the portion of the station that has been converted into a gift shop…

The kitchen and other living areas…

Back out to the freezing cold…

It can’t be fun having to shovel your way in and out everyday…

Sometimes instead of walking down a slope, the penguins will pick up a little speed and then just drop and slide down on their bellies. This one here is just resting though.

The general rule is that we should not approach the penguins and their territory, but if they want to come to you then it’s fine. Some penguins may even jump right onto your lap, as they tend to be very curious creatures and through time they know that humans are not their natural predators.

After returning to our ship for lunch, we then headed out later that day to Neko Harbour for our second landing. The conditions worsened a bit as the wind picked up later in the afternoon, which made it even colder. But this was going to be our first actual landing on the continent of Antarctica, so many of us were excited to step onto shore.

As the conditions worsened, we finally headed back onto our ship on our trusty zodiacs. It was nice to be back on our boat after a long day.

As we sailed away towards our next destination, we had the chance to check out some beautiful scenery along the way from the upper deck of our ship.

During dinner a couple announced and celebrated their marriage with everyone, with the crew staff members providing some joyous music for the wonderful occasion.

After dinner everyone went out to the upper deck again to witness the beautiful sunset.

show hide 5 comments

January 20, 2011 - 10:47 am

Raul Henderson Absolutely amazing. I have to go see this place. I love how the colors stand out with so much white around. COngrats Terrance!

September 6, 2011 - 12:20 am

Geoff Wow, these are gorgeous photos, of a place that few are lucky enough to visit. beautifully shot and processed as well. cheers from Vancouver Canada!
-Geoff

September 6, 2011 - 11:01 am

terrini Thanks Geoff, I appreciate it. After this trip I definitely plan on going back a second time, even though it may be years down the road.

September 8, 2011 - 2:02 am

Anne What a fantastic series! I wouldn’t have guessed that tourism is good for the penguin population, but I’m very happy to hear that it deters other birds from preying on penguin eggs. I tend to prefer color over black and white but I love your b&w shots. They add poignancy to your shots.

September 8, 2011 - 11:48 am

terrini Thank you Anne! Yeah, I was surprised to learn about that too. No wonder penguins loved coming up to us!

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