Four women have been employed at an Antarctic scientific base after heavy snowfall had buried some buildings. Royal Navy sailors came to their aid.
Clare Ballantyne and Mairi Hilton beat a record number to be named to the team that will manage historic Port Lockroy , which is located on Goudier Island, home to the world’s remotest post office.
The team shares the island with a colony gentoo penguins. They had been setting up the base and were assisted by three additional staff members who will soon be leaving ahead of the austral season.
Some buildings were destroyed, and Bransfield Hut, which houses the museum, gift shop, and post office, was damaged by heavy spring snowfalls of up to four metres.
A crew of Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines from HMS Protector moved several tonnes of snow and performed temporary repairs.
“At least the snow has killed the smell”
Warrant Officer First Class Lee “Rattler” Morgan stated that it was good for the ship’s company to “step onshore and help out”.
He said, “The sailors were all smiles. They were happy to start working on such a worthwhile project.
“I was stunned by the amount of snow and the way the buildings disappeared.
“When I left here in the beginning of the new year, the penguins lay on bare ground made of rocks and other debris – the snow at least got rid of the smell.”
Jack Pearce, Engineering Technician Marine Engineer said that this is his second “run ashore” in the Navy. He had just come out of training three weeks prior.
“It’s incredible to be here. I have enjoyed the wildlife and scenery, but it also feels great to make a difference through my work with the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.
These four women were just a few of the 6,000 who expressed interest in managing the site. They would have to give up their comforts and live in the area without running water or a toilet.
This former whaling station has been turned into a tourist attraction that attracts around 20,000 tourists during summer. It is also home to the most remote postal office in the world, which receives around 80,000 cards each year and sends them to over 100 countries.
The team that oversees the station also counts the penguins on the island.
HMS Protector, the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Ship, visits international bases on the continent of the frozen continent regularly to deliver supplies, support scientific research, and conduct her own.