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Postcard from Antarctica - Life on base, what is it really like?

XTRATUF | JANUARY 10, 2024

IG: @ukantarcticheritagetrust

In 2022, XTRATUF were honoured to partner with the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT). Providing the team with boots as they embarked on their mission to run the world’s most southernmost (and most remote) post office.

XTRATUF are proud to have partnered with the UKAHT again for the 2023/24 season as the team travel down the Antarctic Peninsular to Port Lockroy. The team will be monitoring penguins, running the post office, and meeting visitors from visiting cruise ships!

Nothing can really prepare you for Antarctica. You can read every book and watch every nature documentary, but there are a few things which are impossible to grasp in advance. The length of the journey. The complete removal from ‘normal life’. The power of the landscape. The swift and ruthless changes in weather. The profoundness of nature and how it dominates. The otherworldliness. The vulnerability. The smell.

Port Lockroy in Antarctica is a protected historic site cared for by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. We welcome visitors to a small museum and post office (the world’s southernmost), deliver conservation work, monitor the penguin numbers and run the base. We often get asked, what is it really like to live here for four months away from home, without internet and no running water? The answer? It’s hard work but it’s great!

The seasonal team at Port Lockroy have a well-constructed Nissen Hut which provides warm and insulated accommodation with a bunk room, living room, boot room and washing facilities. It is decorated with pictures of past teams, Antarctic endeavours, colourful bunting and personal mementos from home. It is a warm place at the end of a working day. And a working day it certainly is.

Being stationed on an Antarctic base requires constant manual work and safety checks. Regular cleaning is essential. All water is transported in jerry cans. Environmental considerations are a constant. Creative cooking from supplies happens all day. And then there is the care of the museum, restocking the shop and drying clothes and gear.

At the end of the day, what do we wear in the hut to get cosy? Our Xtratuf slippers. We are thankful for a fluffy shoe with a rubber sole so that we can be warm and still be practical. Thank you Xtratuf!

Follow the UKAHT team:

Instagram - @ukantarcticheritagetrust

Facebook - UK Antarctic Heritage Trust

Website - ukaht.org


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