Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Argentine Islands - Wordie House

In the afternoon we anchored around the Argentine Islands for landings at Wordie House and the Vernadsky Station.  Both were originally part of the British Faraday Station.  On the way to shore we spotted fur seals on one of the small islands.  Fur seals are from the same family as sea lions, with the longer front flippers that enable them to sit up and 'walk' on the flippers rather than just moving caterpillar style as the other seals do.  No pictures sadly as it was just too wet for my camera.
 We also had a go at breaking up a bit of the pack ice with the zodiac, without much success. Not surprising really, the sea ice was so thick and widespread around here that we were only the second ship that had made it to here since the end of their last summer, almost a year ago.

Wordie House was our first stop.  Our photo seems to have disappeared, so I have borrowed one from BAS.  But it was snowier when we were here and the picture doesn't show the huge glacier outside.  The hut, Base F, was built in 1947, one year after the original 1934 base was washed away by a Tsunami.  It is rumoured to be haunted, but we didn't see or hear any ghosts.

Restored in the 1990s by the British Antarctic Survey in the manner that it would have been in the 1950s, it is an important historical site, with many original artifacts of life in an Antarctic station.  It was hard to imagine four or five men spending months here.

I rather liked seeing the old jar of Marmite along with the old anthracite stove and other items. The old Guinness sign amused me, but I'm not sure they would have got a great deal of that here.

One item on the wall was an old document showing how much coal they had used to keep the cold out.  I couldn't make out all of it but they got through quite a bit.  Only to be expected when the information at Vernadsky shows that the average annual temperature out here is just under minus two degrees centigrade now.

The overall trend shows this as increased from just over minus six back in 1947, but the coldest year was 1959 when the average temperature was below minus eight.   I'm guessing that they used a lot of coal that winter.

But of course those temperatures don't take account of the wind chill factor, and I can definitely say that the wind can make it a lot colder even in the Antarctic summer time.
From Wordie House we got back in the zodiacs and made the short trip round to the Vernadsky Station on Galindez Island.

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