An Ennis man is waiting to hear whether his application for a seasonal job in the worlds most southerly and possibly coldest post office has been successful.
Anthony Galvin, originally from Clare but living in Cork, is one of over 1,000 people who have applied for four positions on Goudier Island off the Antarctic Peninsula where there is no running water, mains power and only limited communications
The successful team of four will spend next November to March, running a shop, post office, maintenance and museum operation at Port Lockroy for the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT).
About 18,000 people visit the tiny island each Antarctic summer amounting to two ship visits per day. Around 70,000 cards are posted each year to over 100 countries usually taking between 2 and 6 weeks to arrive.
The author, magician and children’s entertainer knows the competition will be stiff but one advantage he does have is that he has spent up to six weeks every year for the past two decades in Arctic Finland.
Anthony Galvin said: “I have always been obsessed with polar exploration, even as a child. Twenty years ago I got the chance to work in Lapland, in Arctic Finland, and I go there every December. I work as a magician at a Santa village. The main attraction is living in the Arctic, sometimes for up to six weeks.”
“I love the snow, the cold, the northern lights, the wilderness. I have been out in temperatures as low as minus 45C, and love it. You throw a cup of coffee in the air and it freezes before it hits the ground,” Anthony said.
“I have hiked in Iceland and the Himalayas, and have climbed Ben Nevis in mid-winter where it’s minus 15 at ground level. I have written a book about the history of the North Pole (The Great Polar Fraud), so my obsession runs deep,” Anthony added.
“I know there are opportunities to work in Antarctica, and most of them involve scientific research. Though my degree is in science I have not worked in that area, and would not get one of the research jobs. So, when I saw this position I had to go for it,” he said.
Goudier Island is also home to 2,000 gentoo penguins which are closely monitored.
“My job, if I am lucky, will be to run the post office, clear off the penguin crap, keep the area snow-free, and help with the scientific survey of the penguins. I will also have to give brief presentations to the visitors,” Anthony said.
“I know the odds are long, but with so many winters in the Arctic behind me I thought I have some chance, so I put in my application. Fingers crossed I get it – I would love it,” he added.