Life at Scott Base, Ross Island, Antarctica

It was a white out. However, after a 51-hour delay in Christchurch and then a noisy 6-hour flight in a US Air Force aircraft (a C-17 for the plane-spotters amongst you), we land on the sea ice by Ross Island. It was evident that sea ice was not particularly healthy for this time of the year, and it was only recently that the airstrip had to be moved because of an unexpected crack in the ice.

View from inside our C-17 flight. No comforts, no in-flight entertainment.

Touch-down on the ice in Antarctica

Walking off the plane into the sunny white landscape felt like a surreal dreamland and I needed a hit of that cold fresh breeze to remind me to take a breath. We were then quickly taken with our baggage from the icy airstrip and transported to the Scott Base, passing various vehicles which looked like they were taken from the film Transformers. Aside from personal items like a laptop, camera, etc., our kit is a lengthy list; 2x upper & lower merino thermals, fleece top & bottoms, 4x jackets, salopettes, 3x boots, 8x pairs of gloves, 2x balaclavas, 4x pairs of socks, 2x neck gaiters, headband, 2x sunglasses, ski goggles, beanie, woolly cap, drinks bottle, sewing kit, ice axe and climbing gear. Beauty products are also surprisingly vital in the Antarctic, with moisturiser being a highly appreciated item against the extremely cold, dry winds (and if you manage to get some ladies moisturiser with added sun-protection, you’re smiling). So I’m well stocked.

Layout of Scott Base

Life at Scott Base is well-facilitated, with comfortable rooms and living areas, an all-you-can-eat canteen, gym, gift shop, museum, library, dvd lounge and a very cheap bar, in addition to all the science labs and logistical sections. All windows have amazing views of the surrounding mountains and ice as well as a family of Weddell seals who reside a short distance from the base. I’m slowly getting used to 24-hour daylight, but I need a watch to have any idea of the time.

Having done some survival training, tonight we camp out somewhere on Ross Island to test ourselves. Weather looks good, only about -20 degrees C. Hopefully I’ll be back in the morning.

Scott Base with Weddell Seals off the coast of Ross Island

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Antarctica and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Life at Scott Base, Ross Island, Antarctica

  1. Pingback: McMurdo Roundup « Scripps On Ice

  2. Pingback: “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign.” |

  3. Hendrik Snyman says:

    Please write some more! I find this highly fascinating. Do you ever go to McMurdo? What else is there to do for fun?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s