Todays landing was Michelson Harbour which is surrounded in huge glaciers, the weather today was not as good as previous days as there was overnight snow and it was overcast. This was unfortunate as the photography workshop I was supposed to go on had been rescheduled for today. This meant that I got to leave in the first landing party to get on the island for some photos or so was the plan. The weather however was shocking with high winds and sleet, making it probably the worst day I had experienced so far. It was also freezing cold and after struggling for half and hour or so I gave up on getting an good pictures as my camera was getting pretty wet and to be honest the island was a little small and not quite as picturesque as the other sites.
I headed back to the ship and the warmth of my cabin was appreciated for the first time on the trip, a warm shower and some dry clothes were a prerequisite.
There was a cruise booked for the afternoon but as the weather improved the plans changed to a landing at Port Lockroy
which everyone was very excited about, it was famous for being the only place with a post office and apparently you could send a post card home from that island.
We arrived late at around 7pm and there was ice everywhere, to be honest I didn’t think we would be able to get a landing done. There was no clear path and the ship actually crashed through a huge sheet of ice and was almost into a mountain! There staff w
orked on clearing a channel through to the site and after around an hour they managed to get a path through. It was getting darker and I never actually got on shore until 10pm (luckily it doesn’t really get too dark in this region).
There were penguins surrounding the landing site and it was what was referred to as a wet landing which meant y
ou had to step through water a foot deep until you reached shore. I was lucky that between my boots and snow pants I was appropriately waterproofed and so managed to stay dry. The first stop ashore was the shop were you could buy a postcard and stamp and other minor souvenirs. At only $1 per stamp to get a postcard from Antarctica to Scotland I thought it was quite a bargain.
Although apart from the shop there were no other buildings the scenery was really amazing, I found it a very tranquil location and I found myself staying for a couple of hours talking to the locals. There were a small team of scientists on the island who volunteer to monitor the weather and penguins on the island, they get up at 6am each day and work till dawn but it must be a unique experience. I would imagine waking up to those surroundings must be something special. I eventually headed back to the ship just before midnight with the light still shinning outside.