MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, December 11th 2017 - 07:23 UTC

Supplies in Falklands ready for shipping to Antarctica's Port Lockroy, the most remote post office

Monday, October 2nd 2017 - 14:12 UTC
Full article 2 comments
 Port Lockroy on Goudier Island, was home to explorers and whalers before becoming the first permanent British base established on the Antarctic Peninsula. Port Lockroy on Goudier Island, was home to explorers and whalers before becoming the first permanent British base established on the Antarctic Peninsula.
The island is deserted for most of the year but comes to life during the Antarctic summer when the trust's four staff are shipped in and thousands of tourists arrive The island is deserted for most of the year but comes to life during the Antarctic summer when the trust's four staff are shipped in and thousands of tourists arrive
Last year's post workers got through 337 tins of food as they franked 63,050 stamps for the tourists' postcards and sold 2,361 soft toy penguins. (Pics John's Voyage) Last year's post workers got through 337 tins of food as they franked 63,050 stamps for the tourists' postcards and sold 2,361 soft toy penguins. (Pics John's Voyage)

Brooms to clean bird droppings, along with thousands of toy penguins, are among tons of items being shipped out to the UK's most remote post office. Each year, four scientists become postmasters, manning the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust's post office at Port Lockroy in Antarctica for four months.

 Items to stock the office for tourists, plus food and scientific equipment for the team have now been shipped out. They include seven brooms, essential for cleaning guano - seabird droppings, and all has finally arrived in the Falkland Islands before they are transported for the final leg.

Port Lockroy, on Goudier Island, was home to explorers and whalers before becoming the first permanent British base to be established on the Antarctic Peninsula. Built in 1944, it was used as a science base until 1962, when it closed permanently.

Restoration began in the 1990s and since 2006 it has been managed as a post office and museum by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. The island is deserted for most of the year but comes to life during the Antarctic summer when the trust's four staff are shipped in and thousands of tourists begin arriving.

This year's all-female postal team, whose names have not yet been released, will head out to the base in November and will also carry out scientific work, including monitoring penguins, before returning to the UK in March. Supplies have to leave the trust's Cambridge headquarters ahead of their arrival.

The logistics of kitting out a tourist attraction in the middle of what the trust admits can look a little like a penguin toilet mean that brooms for sweeping up seabird excrement are one of the essentials. Seven were sent last year - but only one survived the rigorous cleaning regime.

It takes a team from the trust a year to gather together everything needed to make the post office function, and about two months to pack it all up.

Everything needs to survive both the journey and long-term storage, so food is all tinned or dried - nothing is fresh.

Last year's post workers got through 337 tins of food as they franked 63,050 stamps for the tourists' postcards and sold 2,361 soft toy penguins.

They got through 55 liters of bitumen paint to protect and maintain the settlement's historic buildings, and that had to be fitted in while counting penguin nests and surveying artifacts.

Last year, the trust shipped 1,200 boxes of goods to Port Lockroy. This year's supplies are a “top-up” so only 400 are being sent. They left the UK on a container ship on 4 September and arrived on the Falkland Islands on 28 September. Supplies are then delivered throughout the season by the cruise ships carrying tourists.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • The Voice

    The local Argies will be pleased, they can still pick up their copies of Playboy and Cross Stitch.

    Oct 02nd, 2017 - 06:15 pm +1
  • Lucille

    England will return the Malvinas within 25 years.

    Oct 03rd, 2017 - 02:52 am -1
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!