Posted by Cricket
Date: 30 November 2010
Wind Speed: 5 knots
Temp with wind chill: -13C
Campsite at Cape Royds © AHT/Cricket
Our camp at Cape Royds sits over the hill and due east of Sir Ernest Shackelton’s Hut from his 1907 Nimrod Expedition. We are nine, 6 carpenters and 3 conservators, and we each sleep in our own bright yellow polar tent, like the ones the early explorers used on their expeditions. I am 5’6” tall and can just stand up straight at the center of the tent, which makes dressing into our bulky Carhartts and big Sorrel boots relatively easy. The tent’s yellow fabric creates a strong warm light inside, which makes it nearly impossible to tell colours apart. We laugh at how disorienting it is to know what a colour should be and see something entirely different. Blues look like black, and purples are a horrible brown, etc. The tents are remarkably comfortable, and though not as warm as the lower-to-the-ground Mountain tents, are wonderfully pleasant for longer field trips like our 4-week-long stay at Royds.
We have the luxury of having a good sized mess created by two wannigans joined together at the side. The wannigans are new this year and are retrofitted hydroponics containers from the days when vegetables and herbs were grown at Scott Base – we use many of the plant hooks and ceiling wires to hang our clothes and towels. We have a propane stove for cooking, a small diesel stove for heat and melting snow for water, and a sink that is fed by a Coleman cooler and drains into a bucket. It’s a relatively simple life here of work, base chores, relaxing in the evening and sleep. It’s amazing how quickly one forgets about the clutter and noisy details of normal life like tv and telephone calls, and rediscovers how great good company and good books really are.