Another “Most Southerly … ” and an early Burn’s Night

The sun is out and the world is a totally different place. The ice cliffs are blue again and the snow is sparkling. Everyone has their cameras out and we’re away to shore to take photos of penguins that are not huddled against the fierce wind.

But let’s start with yesterday. We arrived back in Port Lockroy at the ‘penguin post office’ where we spent Christmas on the last trip. When we arrived is was cloudy and it started to snow quite heavily. So we decide to start the day with some tea and blankets down in the galley watching The Frozen Planet. It was kind of surreal but where else to watch it than in Antarctica. We ventured ashore and were warmly welcomed by Jane, Helen and Kristy, current Port Lockroy Post-mistresses, who showed us around the base museum. We spent some time in the gift shop, and can gladly say that we have contributed to the 40,000 postcards mailed every summer via the ‘southern-most post office in the world’.

Feeling like we had to keep up our sociable reputation, we moved Burns night forward 10 days and held an impromptu Scottish evening on Elinca, inviting our new friends from the post office plus Ruth ‘The Penguin Film Maker’. James donned his kilt, Nick a bow tie and waistcoat (with Adidas track pants), and the Port Lockroy girls wore their Antarctic tartan. We had Haggis and Tatties, and toasted the Haggis with a poem kindly contributed by the Port Lockroy girls – ‘An Ode To The Adelie’ (which we will include in a later post once we have a copy). The ladies aboard were toasted by the Elinca gents prior to a delicious pineapple crannakin (thanks to Sarah), before the gents were toasted (albeit somewhat brutally) by the Elinca ladies:

A toast to the fellas,
The stinkas, the yellas,
The blokes, the lads,
of who we are glad.

To Stafford the coolest,
Steering a course,
Pisco sours and he’s a dark horse.

To Richard in Musto,
Vomming with gusto,
Telling a tail, while setting a sail.

To John, man with lens,
With whom all are friends,
He’s a bit of a wizard,
For causing a blizzard.

To Torsten, man with scat,
Sings the Drake like a dying cat.
His dance moves are regal,
If not quite legal.

To Nick, jester of the court,
In his penguin shorts,
The dinghy master,
Might help to row faster!

To James David Boyce, our skipper of choice.
Crossing the Drake, whilst foraging for cake.
To loons young and old,
With pants five days old,
Can be quite crass, both ends full of gas,
Try as you might, you’re still full of *****.

But, at sea or on land,
We wouldn’t be without this reprobate band.

After ceremonies, the party continued aboard Pelagic Australis – we are yet to learn the finer details – however, what we do know so far is that their vodka ballast is now much less. Despite the early morning return for party-goers, the long-promised high pressure system and welcome sun has boosted activity, including breakfast, sunbathing and hair washing on deck. Our damp boat is gradually drying out, and our toes warming. We are looking forward to a beautiful day, sailing through the La Mer passage, toward Port Charcot.

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