A surprising high point of the trip was our visit to Port Lockroy, a former British military base that has been restored and now operates as a museum. It is located in a sheltered harbor off the coast of Wiencke Island, discovered in the 1800s. Norwegian whalers established a floating factory here in 1911, and whaling remained at Port Lockroy until 1931.
Late in World War II, the British constructed three bases on the Antarctic Peninsula. Port Lockroy was designated “Base A.” Following its brief wartime service, Base A became an important center for scientific work and study until 1962. Then, the scientists moved to more up-to-date stations and Port Lockroy was closed.
In 1996, under the auspices of the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust, Base A was restored as a museum that faithfully shows what life was like in the original outpost. I have to think that the inhabitants must have been as struck by the awesome setting as I was, with its huge glaciers spilling down into the dark gray sea from snowcapped mountains emblazoned by the early morning sun.