Skip navigation
You are here: Home > NaturePlus > Blogs > Tags

Blog Posts

Blog Posts

Items per page

Author: Sue

Date: 24 February 2013

Temperature: -5 Degrees C

Wind Speed: None

Sunrise: 23:51

Sunset: 04:10



Last week marked the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Christchurch, claiming 185 lives and leaving much of the city in ruins. Since then more than 11,000 aftershocks have shaken the city and its people, and much of the CBD has been cleared.


Marble statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott following the earthquake (source:

Among the many monuments and buildings damaged in the 6.3-magnitude quake was the heritage-listed marble statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott in Worcester Boulevard (a replica of Kathleen Scott's 1915 bronze statue of Scott in London's Waterloo Place). The marble statue, also sculpted by Scott's widow, Kathleen, and unveiled in 1917, toppled from its plinth and was broken in several places. It is currently on display in its broken state in Christchurch's Canterbury Museum  as part of  the major international touring exhibition Scott's Last Expedition, which tells the epic and tragic story of Scott's Terra Nova Expedition to the South Pole.

Flowers  in road cone 22Feb13.jpg

Members of the outgoing summer team pay tribute to Christchurch with a road cone & flowers*

Christchurch, as New Zealand's gateway to Antarctica, is close to the hearts of all and home to many currently at Scott Base. On 22 February the base paid tribute to those who lost their lives and to the strength, fortitude and resilience of those who survived and are rebuilding their lives, homes and businesses. KIA KAHA Christchurch!



*Photo note: Due to their prevalence on Christchurch's street, the road cone has become an informal symbol for the earthquakes and the city's rebuild.


After a one-day delay, we left for Antarctica. It was a beautiful hot summer day in Christchurch and it felt a little bit strange to change into our Extreme Weather survival gear. We had check-in at 6.30 pm. After check-in there is always a safety briefing before everybody is driven to the C17 airplane.


                                                                                          Check-in for Antarctica






                                                                          Arrival1 .jpg





The operations are shared between the New Zealand and US Antarctic Program.In the C17 there was a lot of cargo including some rather larger rotor blades.  Most of the passengers usually sit a long the sides… which is actually quite comfortable. We even get a brown bag lunch with yummy sandwiches, crisps and chocolate.


                                                                                 On the way to the C17 aircraft





                                                                               In front of the C17 at Christchurch airport



We left at 9 pm from Christchurch and got there just after 3 am in the night. It has been relatively warm on Ross Island lately with temperatures around 0 degree. Therefore, the flights are currently arriving during the hours of the day, when the temperatures are likely the lowest to prevent any damage on the ice runway.

                                                                                     Inside the C17





When we arrived it was cloudy but not very windy nor cold. ….. At the moment there is 24-hour sunlight in Antarctica. It took 1 hour to get from the landing strip to Scott Base. The landing strip is on the ice shelf.

                                                                               Arrival in Antarctica



At arrival we had a short welcome briefing and went to bed.At Scott base usually 3-4 people share a room. The windows have wooden shutters to block out the sunlight at night. The rooms are really comfortable.



                                                                                        bed rooms in  Scott Base



                                                                                     View from the bed room



I arrived on the 1st of January in Christchurch. The flight was pleasant and  involved a lot of eating, sleeping and watching movies. When I arrived in Auckland it was raining but the sun was shining in Christchurch.


                                                                                     Auckland Airport



                                                   Flying of the Southern Alps and Canterbury Plains, South Island



It was nice to suddently be  in the middle of summer. I went for a stroll and did some last shopping for the field trip including some extra chocolate, tea and coffee. People are really into gardening in Christchurch and everywhere you find beautiful gardens.


                                                                           Summer in Christchurch





                                                               ArrivalCHCH2.jpg                                                                                                                                                        ArrivalCHCH3.jpg

Unfortunately, I got little sleep in my first night in Christchurch because there were quite a few earthquakes overnight. The biggest one was at 5.45 am with a strength of 5.5. Luckily, I am staying with somebody from our team and her house did not have any damage throughtout the last year. This is reassuring and I am slowly getting used to the rumbling. I am staying in a part of Christchurch which had little damage of the last year in comparison to many other parts of town.


Authors: Julie and Sarah
Date: 25/2/2011
Temperature: -10
Wind Speed: 30
Temp with wind chill: -42
Sunrise: 03:48
Sunset 00:28

An earthquake hit Christchuch on February 21 that was strong enough to register on the instruments at Scott Base.  It has become apparent that the earthquake is one of the worst disasters that New Zealand has ever experienced.  Everyone at Scott Base has some connection to Christchurch, and some have had difficult news.  Like the rest of the world, we are horrified by the destruction, and deeply saddened by the deaths.  At times like this the reality of being isolated and far away is brought home to us.

Half mast.jpg

Scott Base flag Credit AHT Julie


I made it to Christchurch with only minor delays. On the way, I had a stop-over in Singapore airport where I had enough time to visit one of the airport terraces with its great garden:







It is spring in Christchurch, and everything is flowering. New Zealand has a lot of native plants. One of my favourite plants is the Cabbage tree.





I will leave in two days for my trip from London (UK) to Antarctica. I will first fly to New Zealand and then fly down to Antarctica (also called "Ice Flight"). This year I will work with the US Antarctic (USAP) and the New Zealand Antarctic (ANTNZ) Programs. They share some of their logistics and therefore everybody comes first to Christchurch, New Zealand and then flies to Antarctica from there using special aircrafts such as Globemaster or Hercules.