Date: 11 October 2013
Wind speed: 10 knots
Temp with wind chill: -37C
When we arrived at Scott Base, Josiah and I joined a small team of 10 people who had just spent the winter on the ice. Whilst it was busy, it was also relaxed and quiet, but suddenly it’s all change. The summer season has begun and the base population has swollen to over 50 excited people, many of whom have not been to the ice before.
Preparing dinner in the outsoor kitchen © Issac
Last weekend we got to know some of the new crew as we joined them to learn Antarctic Field Skills from the specialist trainers – how to survive in the Antarctic environment, while working, having fun or in an emergency.
We put together sleep kits of layers of thick sleeping bags, collected food supplies, learnt how to light camp stoves in sub-zero temperatures and discussed how to protect ourselves from frost bite. We then headed out to spend the night camping in tents similar to those used by the early Antarctic explorers.
Breakfast time in a blizzard - warming tea, Milo and porridge © Nicola
That evening, after digging a kitchen area protected by snow blocks, we heated water and dined on packets of dehydrated food. When we turned in at 11pm it was still light and the weather perfectly calm. But this is Antarctica! Overnight the winds increased and in the morning we emerged from our flapping tents into near blizzard conditions. Although I’ve done field training on my two previous trips to the Ice it was always in fine conditions, so I really enjoyed experiencing some ‘real Antarctic weather’.
Preparing to de-camp
Thanks to the training Josiah and I now feel confident as we make plans to head out to spend three months camping at the historic hut sites. We are definitely looking forward to the experience.