Date: 24 February 2013
Temperature: -5 C
Wind Speed: 5 knots
Temp with wind chill: -9 C
Anyone spending time in Antarctica needs to learn how to live and work safely and how to survive in the harsh environment … and that includes conservators! Taking part in Antarctic Field Skills training is a basic and early part of the induction process following arrival on the ice, and the five members of the AHT Winter Team headed out overnight with the other ten people who will winter-over at Scott Base this year.
Setting up camp below Mt Erebus
The field skills training involved an introduction to Antarctica New Zealand's zero-harm philosophy, applying its risk assessment process, and learning the protocols surrounding the Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs which the heroic-era huts come under). And then there was understanding how to effectively use our many layers of supplied clothing, what is found in a 'survival bag' (such as a shelter and dehydrated meals) and how to use it, polar-tent pitching (using tents of much the same design as those used by the heroic-era explorers), sleep-kit construction for different conditions, stove lighting, toileting and waste management, and communications planning and procedures. All very useful and necessary skills.
Base engineer Dave barbequing, Antarctic style
We were fortunate to have spectacular weather, and for those of us who are new to this, no darkness, allowing us to find our way in and out of our tents and multi-layered sleeping kits successfully! We also picked up some useful tips from old hands on barbequing Antarctic style, keeping drinks off the freeze, and frisbee-playing in deep snow, with gloves. A fun trip!