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Day 15 - January 2, 2011 - Goudier Island 

By by Franz Gingele, Geologist

Coordinates: S 64º 49.27’, W 63º 37.38’

Weather: calm, snowfall
Air Temperature: 0ºC
Pressure: 995 hPa
Wind: calm

We spent the night cruising up and down the Neumayer Channel and at 6 a.m. we found ourselves anchored off Goudier Island. This was supposed to be a technical stop only to deliver mail and supplies to the 3 girls from the British Antarctic Heritage Trust who run the small museum of Port Lockroy on Goudier Island, but plans in Antarctica change constantly and since the conditions for the Drake crossing looked good, Conrad, our Expedition Leader, decided to extend our stay a little so that we could visit the museum and shop this morning.

Port Lockroy is the oldest British base in Antarctica, founded in the 1940s during the second World War as a precautionary measure against German interventions. After running “Base A” through the 1960s and 1970s, the site was abandoned and only in 1995 did the British Antarctic Heritage Trust come back to renovate and preserve it. Today the base represents a time capsule straight out of the 1960s.

At 8 a.m. the boats were ready and I drove the first group the short distance from the ship to Goudier Island. The weather was overcast and it started to snow quite heavily with temperatures around 0ºC. Goudier Island is also inhabited by hundreds of Gentoo penguins and while many guests were looking at the museum or shopping for Antarctic souvenirs, quite a few of the others enjoyed the antics of the penguins outside.

While one group of guests spent their time on Goudier Island, the other group would go on a Zodiac cruise around the island. It was a very special mood with the snow falling heavily and the water absolutely still. Behind the island I switched off the engine and we all enjoyed the silence of Antarctica. Penguins, blue-eyed shags, kelp gulls and a group of crabeater seals were some of the wildlife we found on our Zodiac cruise.

At 10 a.m. we switched the groups on shore and I went on another cruise behind the island to search for wildlife and enjoy the Antarctic scenery. It was a very special way to finish our stay on the big white continent!

Unfortunately at lunchtime we had to take up our anchor and left Neumayer Channel to head for the Drake Passage.

The afternoon was busy with a lecture by “Mad Dog” Rich about “Living and Working in Antarctica” and a movie about “The Amazing Adventures of Ernest Shackleton”. A final Recap & Briefing in the evening finished our fantastic last day on the “Great White Continent”!

 

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