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. Apparently, mail dropped in the box is collected and the postmaster waits for a vessel going to the Falkland Islands to send it on its way. The mail goes to the Falklands, then to the UK, and from there, around the world. The post cards I sent to friends took 3 to 5 weeks to get to Canada. Even more interesting, I saw one of our crew actually receive a letter at the post office!
- Save some money for this part of the tour as there are many things here that you can’t buy on the ship or elsewhere. I picked up an “Antarctic tartan” scarf for a friend of mine, some collectible stamps, and a penguin “stuffy” to take home with me. (No, you can not take a live
stinky, poopy, whimsical, birdpenguin home no matter how many friends ask for one.) Profits go to support the maintenance of this and other historic sites in Antarctica.
- It looked like there were three employees at the station. Talk about an unusual job! These employees joined the crew on the Sea Spirit for dinner.
- Artifacts in the museum that fascinated me the most were the wool coats used by the military personnel here (all I can say is BRRRRRR), the canned goods in the kitchen, and the coal-fired stove. Life would have gotten terribly scary if you ran out of coal.
- Boy will be boys. There are pin-ups painted over the beds in the bunk area. It was fascinating to see who the “hotties” of the era were.
- The penguins have taken over. Any window you look out, there are penguins.
- In the area, we saw a sail boat (34 feet?). It is theoretically possible to sail to Antarctica in the “summer” but I can’t imagine crossing the Drake Passage in such a small boat!