Apr – Isolation

30 April, 2003


Isolation was finally complete when the remaining two twin otters and the Dash 7 flew north on the 15th. The moment was captured by a farewell salute to the departing plane and champagne on the veranda. After the celebrations we knuckled down to a week of scrubout – so much for freedom. However, it had to be done, and Andy B, our new winter commander, kept a hand in at all times.

Winter training trips started early in the month with individuals heading out with a field assistant for six days – or more! learning how to survive, and hopefully enjoy, being out in the Antarctic, anyway more of that later. It kept the field assistants busy getting everything ready too. Science in the Global Context didn’t stop either just because it was winter. The divers did their best to get out despite disruptions, Graeme kept the LIDAR (laser equivalent of a radar for measuring middle atmosphere temperatures) firing whenever there was a clear spell and the Met boys collected weather observations around the clock. The science that gets carried out in winter is highly regarded. The unique circumstances, the challenges of collecting it and the environmental pressures all make it more worthwhile.

In case life here wasn’t manic enough, the Argentine Ice Breaker, Almirante Irizar, dropped by, en route from San Martin. We had the pleasure of being flown onto their ship, by Sea King, for a guided tour while they came ashore to visit the base and taste Issy’s cookies. I’m sure we’d all like to give them many thanks for their generous gifts and for being so hospitable.

Richard Burt – Field Assistant

Kirsty Brown – Marine Biologist

This month’s diary contains: