'The most magical place': 4 women selected to run Antarctica's 'Penguin Post Office'




  • In Business
  • 2022-10-04 20:19:02Z
  • By USA TODAY
The post office at Port Lockroy, also known as the \"Penguin Post Office,\" is on Goudier Island, just off the west side of the Antarctic peninsula.
The post office at Port Lockroy, also known as the \"Penguin Post Office,\" is on Goudier Island, just off the west side of the Antarctic peninsula.  

Four women have been selected to run the world's most remote post office - a "magical" site called Port Lockroy in Antarctica.

An added perk? They get paid to count penguins.

Clare Ballantyne, Mairi Hilton, Natalie Corbett and Lucy Bruzzone beat out 6,000 applicants to become the team responsible for managing Port Lockroy on Goudier Island, west of the Antarctic Peninsula, UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) spokeswoman Emma Dennis told USA TODAY Tuesday.

At the port, affectionately known as the Penguin Post Office, the group will work from November to March 2023 - Antarctica's summer months - when temperatures can reach a brisk 50 degrees, but often are freezing when the wind chill is factored in.

Four women have been selected to run the world
Four women have been selected to run the world's most remote post office in Antarctica. From the left, Lucy Bruzzone, Clare Ballantyne, Natalie Corbett and Mairi Hilton.  

The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, a charity that manages bases that educate visitors and help conservation efforts on the seventh continent, advertised the job postings and, in the end, selected the four as its hires.

A British Antarctic territory, Post Lockroy's "Base A"  was created in 1944 and operated as a British research station.

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No running water, internet or flushing toilets

The newly selected team will travel 9,000 miles from the United Kingdom to reopen the bay for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, UKAHT released in a statement.

They will spend five months living in close quarters without a flushing toilet and limited communication to the world.

The initial job posting described living conditions as "basic but comfortable," with limited power, no running water or internet access.

If they want to take a shower or use a flushing toilet, according to the post, the workers have to hope a visiting ship will let them use one.

The women will have company, too: They will be joined for several months by Vicky Inglis, the general assistant and wildlife monitor, UKAHT said.

Vicky Inglis
Vicky Inglis  

According to a statement from UKAHT, Hilton will work as a wildlife monitor and will be in charge of counting the penguin population and watching new hatchlings and nests.

Corbett, who will run a gift shop at the site, will leave behind her husband for the trip.

"Who wouldn't want to spend five months working on an island filled with penguins in one of the most remote places on the planet?" Corbett, 31, said in the statement. "I'll be leaving behind my husband, George, who I only married in June so I'm treating this like my solo honeymoon."

Ballantyne will handle about 80,000 cards sent annually from the post office to nearly 100 countries across the globe, according to AKAHT.

Bruzzone, a scientist, will manage the team and have supervision over ships coming and going. She called the opportunity is a "lifelong dream".

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While there, the group has to count penguins and other wildlife for the British Antarctic Survey, and a report is due by the end of employment.

As daunting as the job may seem, Lauren Elliott, a postmaster who worked there from 2019 to 2020, called it "the most magical place in the world," even if it meant cleaning up "lots of penguin poo."

"Pack up your bags and go," Elliot said. "Our team still talks today, and you'll make friends for life."

Contributing: Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY.

Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Antarctica's 'Penguin Post Office', Port Lockroy, to be run by 4 women

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