By Day 8 in Antarctica, I was feeling physically spent and suffering a tad from “wow” fatigue
not to mention… oops, I just did… that I was fighting Montezuma’s revenge. Still, I learned and saw things around Georges Point that, in retrospect, are important to me. For example:
- Eee… the wind. I can’t imagine what the early explores did without truly wind-proof clothing. A wool coat can only do so much and frankly, the winds we experienced were rather wimpy compared to what an Antarctic winter is capable of dishing out.
Almirante Brown Antarctic Base is an Argentine research base. When we visited, there was “nobody home” but I suspect that really isn’t the point of these kinds of stations. On our journey we saw active bases, inactive bases, and rescue huts… all operated by different countries. While a lot of important research happens on the continent, I suspect that many of these facilities are actually there as “sovereignty” place markers… pieces on the territorial claim board should the status of Antarctica change. Currently the Antarctic Treaty System designates Antarctica as “ a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science.” According to the Environmental Protocol in the treaty, “All activities relating to Antarctic mineral resources, except for scientific research, are forbidden.” Essentially, Antarctica is currently a giant park that several countries have land claims upon, but in the interest of peace they’ve all agreed to get along, even where claims overlap. In that context, the stations are there just in case the treaty falls apart.
Yes, you can get mail in Antarctica. The former military/research base at Port Lockroy has been turned into a museum and, yes, a functioning post office.
A few random notes and observations:
- The facility is an actual functioning post office. You can buy stamps in the gift shop and there is a mailbox at the entrance.