Day 8 |
Dec 15, 2010

 Port Lockroy, Goudier Island 

By Mike Sylvia, General Naturalist


Co-ordinates: 55˚06’ S, 66˚31’ W
Weather: Calm to light winds. Sunny Skies
Air Temperature: 1.0 C, 33.8 F
Sea Temperature: 1.0 C, 33.8 F
Pressure: 974 hPa
Wind: 0-12 km/h

My day started by looking out on a very sunny morning. The bay was flat calm and the mountains surrounding Port Lockroy were stunning. I knew that this would be a great day and that extra sun block would be required.

I was assigned to be Zodiac driver for the day. That meant that I would be taking guests ashore to the British Antarctic Heritage Trust site on the island. The site contains the Bransfield House museum, Gentoo Penguin colony, and gift shop. The rest of the time I was lucky to guide guests on Zodiac cruises around the heavily glaciered bay and the various small islands that contain a variety of bird life. Disembarkation started after breakfast.

On the first tour I found a pair of Gentoo Penguins standing on a small bergy bit having a flipper slap fest that continued until one knocked the other into the water. King of the Bergy Bit was established. I approached the area and we enjoyed the two swimming and splashing right next to the Zodiac in the crystal clear water. They were soon joined by two Chinstrap Penguins.

The second tour began with a visit to where Antarctic Shags were diving and gathering seaweed for nest building. Close views were had as the birds flew in, dove, surfaced with a collection of seaweeds in their bills, and flew off to the colony. My stop at the colony allowed us to see them complete the process. Great views were also had of Kelp gulls and Snowy Sheathbills.

I located a small quite cove where Gentoo Penguins were leaping out of the water and landing on the rocky shore. Their efforts propelled them a meter straight up, only to land on their feet. I then spotted a Humpback Whale out in the bay. We raced to the site getting some good views at water level. The whale then took a deep dive showing its tail flukes and was not to be seen again.

My visit to Port Lockroy ended by being the ship-to-shore shuttle driver for the five Base personnel that had been invited to dinner on the ship by Captain Peter Stahlberg. As we drove back to the Base, they all told me that they had greatly enjoyed the meal but that they had eaten more than they should. (An easy thing to do considering the excellent cuisine served in The Restaurant!)