Posted by Martin
Wind Speed: 8.8 SE
Temp with wind chill: -14
We would have loved to have finished off dinner tonight with some hot steaming popcorn in our field camp at Shackleton’s hut, Cape Royds. Unfortunately it was not to be. The corn we had rather caused a bit of an environmental headache as it was 100 years old and poured out of an old provision box we were excavating.
These boxes, typically about 320x320x400mm, were used by the expedition to transport everything from engine oil to candles and all sorts of food items. They also made useful building blocks to build the first garage ever built in Antarctica. Since Sir Ernest Shackleton had decided to take an Arrol-Johnston Motorcar on his British Antarctic Expedition(1907-1909), a garage was needed adjacent to the expedition hut at Cape Royds.
Excavating the remains of this garage led us to some unopened corn boxes which had been preserved in the permafrost for over 100 years. Antarctic environmental regulations are very strict. It meant picking up every single kernel and disposing it in what is called food contaminated waste. This waste gets shipped back, checked and disposed of in NZ. Most of the corn looked amazingly fresh and even though it was tempting, we followed protocol and enjoyed a chocolate desert instead.