Port Lockroy is a natural harbour on the north-western shore of Wiencke Island in the Palmer Archipelago in front of the Antarctic Peninsula in the Southern Ocean. The Antarctic base includes the most southerly operational post office in the world.
The bay was discovered during 1904 and named after Edouard Lockroy, a French politician and Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, who assisted Jean-Baptiste Charcot in obtaining government funding for his French Antarctic Expedition. The harbour was used for whaling between 1911 and 1931. During World War II, the British military Operation Tabarin established the Port Lockroy Station A on tiny Goudier Island in the bay, which continued to operate as a British research station until January 16, 1962.
During 1996, the Port Lockroy base was renovated and is now a museum and post office operated by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust.
It is one of the most popular tourist destinations for cruise-ship passengers in Antarctica. Proceeds from the small souvenir shop fund the maintenance of the site and other historic sites and monuments in Antarctica. The Trust collects data for the British Antarctic Survey to observe the effect of tourism on penguins. Half the island is open to tourists, while the other half is reserved for penguins. A staff of four typically process 70,000 pieces of mail sent by 18,000 visitors that arrive during the five month Antarctic cruise season. A souvenir passport stamp is also offered to visitors.
The historic importance of the site relates to both its establishment as an Operation Tabarin base during 1944, and for the scientific work performed there, including the first measurements of the ionosphere, and the first recording of an atmospheric whistler, from Antarctica. It was also a key monitoring site during the International Geophysical Year (1957). The site has been designated a Historic Site or Monument (HSM 61), following a proposal by the United Kingdom to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.
Open Water Swimming
On 23 November 2018, it was site of the first Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim organized by Ram Barkai of the International Ice Swimming Association on 23 November 2018 in Port Lockroy along the Antarctic Peninsula in the Southern Ocean where 33-year-old Samantha Whelpton of South Africa, 41-year-old Alexander Brylin of Russia, 55-year-old Yunfeng Wang of China, 44-year-old Leszek Naziemiec of Poland, 52-year-old Paolo Chiarino of Italy, 54-year-old Andrey Agarkov of Russia, and 51-year-old Sergio Salomone of Argentina completed the ice kilometer swim.
Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim
33-year-old Samantha Whelpton of South Africa successfully competes in the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim held on 23 November 2018 in Port Lockroy along the Antarctic Peninsula together with Alexander Brylin, Yunfeng Wang, [Leszek Naziemiec]], Paolo Chiarino, Andrey Agarkov, and Sergio Salomone.