Antarctic adventurers who worked at world’s most southerly Post Office reveal secrets to surviving months of isolation

SPENDING months stuck at home isn't easy – especially if "home" is hundreds of miles from the nearest shop.

That's the challenge facing brave adventurers who each year travel to a small island off Antarctica to work at the world's most southerly Post Office.

Port Lockroy is a former British outpost that's now among the White Continent's most visited tourist sites.

As well as a Post Office, its plucky team of four employees houses a gift shop and shares territory with a 2,000-strong hoard of penguins.

Workers spend four months a year at the site sending off postcards and shovelling penguin poo – so they know a thing or two about life in isolation.

It stands to reason, then, that Lockroy's alumni (an entirely new team goes out each year) have some sage advice when it comes to surviving lockdown.

Billions worldwide are currently living under some form of enforced lockdown due to Covid-19, with many unable to even visit their families.

According to Brit Lauren Elliot, who worked at Lockroy between November 2019 and March 2020, a good way to beat the blues of isolation is to lean on your hobbies and live in the moment.

"It's good to be present and take in where you are – enjoy your surroundings," Lauren, 25, told Sun Online.

"Of course, in Port Lockroy that’s easy as the wildlife and scenery is amazing.

"I also took up reading again," the Portsmouth native added, "which was one of many small things I learned to appreciate."

"Obviously a lot of people living in lockdown are baking at the moment – some people baked even when we were in Antarctica!

"These little things and spending time with your team, or your family, make a big difference. Make the most of whoever you’re with."

Lauren managed Lockroy's small shop, helping some of the roughly 18,000 tourists who visit the base each year find the perfect gift to lug home.

She was joined at the icy attraction by Northern Irishman Kit Adams, who helped run the Post Office.

More than 80,000 postcards are sent from Lockroy each year. They're shipped to the UK before being distributed across the globe.

Each card has to be hand-stamped by one of the team, with each bag sent back to Blighty weighing up to 11 kilos.

According to Kit, 26, a lot of physical activity was helpful to him and the team while living 800 miles from the nearest city.

Port Lockroy – the world's most southerly Post Office

Here's what you need to know…

  • Port Lockroy is a research base in Antarctica
  • It sits on Goudier Island — the size of a primary school playing field and part of the British Antarctica Territory
  • The former British outpost houses the world's most southerly Post Office
  • It's visited by around 18,000 ship passengers every season hoping to peer at penguins and view the scenery
  • Goudier Island is home to 2,000 gentoo penguins which are part of a large-scale scientific study
  • Four people man the outpost each year throughout the 'austral summer' (November to March)
  • They help count the penguins, clean up bird poo, man the Post Office and run a gift shop at Port Lockroy
  • Temperatures at the outpost are between minus 5C and plus 10C though wind-chill apparently makes it feel colder

"Exercise is something we were a bit limited with at Lockroy," he said. "However, we had physical jobs like brushing guano (bird poo)."

"To be able to go out and do exercise is definitely something in itself that helps with the sanity."

Port Lockroy is run and maintained by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, a charity that conserves historic buildings and artefacts in Antarctica.

Located on Goudier island off the northern tip of Antarctica, the base is only open during the Antarctic summer, which runs from November to March.

Goudier is no bigger than a football field and workers must brace frigid -10C temperatures during their lengthy stints there.

Lauren and Kit arrived back in the UK just as coronavirus hit, forcing the nation into a lockdown that shows no sign of easing soon.

Despite the challenges, the pair are appreciating their home comforts.

"I hugely appreciate being back with my family," Lauren said. "Seeing them, even if it's via Zoom, has been great."

She added: "One of my sisters is expecting so getting excited with her has been wonderful."

Apparently, getting to boast about your globe-trotting adventures isn't a bad way to pass the time, either.

"I have to pinch myself every now and again that it did happen," Kit said.

"To be able to come back and share these experiences and photos with family and friends – you may never go somewhere like that again."

In other news, the first full map of a hidden continent below Antarctica was published online earlier this year.

An iceberg the size of London recently broke off Antarctica – and it wasn't due to climate change.

And, experts think melting Antarctic ice could cause areas of the ocean to turn a "deep green" colour by 2100.

Would you like to visit Port Lockroy? Let us know in the comments!

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