July – Sea Ice Travel

30 July, 2005

Rothera Diary, July 2005

A new month and a new trend as the days were to get lighter as the month went on. The lethargy caused by mid winter (mid winter blues) was soon to evaporate and was helped on its way by the excitement of sea ice travel.

The sea froze well and the Ga’s put together a days training for everyone on base. This basically involved hazards and dangers what to take with you and how to use the equipment such as compasses, throw lines and flares. At the weekend most of the base walked round the point.

With the sea ice Matt continued to cut dive holes to swim down into. Kat managed to ski-doo to her scientific island sites. Paul could also Ski-doo to sites to carry out CTD and managed to get to some deep sites which has not happened in several years. As seen in the picture below. So the sea ice helped a lot of folk get things done while the boat man remained stuck in his shed carrying out repairs. Dan got his scavi-cam set up under the sea ice watching some bate to see how much the life below the sea eats during winter. Hopefully there should be some very interesting outcomes to the experiment.

Beyond the sea ice back on base things continued in there normal winter ways with the weekends being very sociable. Esecially Saturday evenings when Izzy cooks a special three course meal and has done all winter. Myself, Andy L and Jo decided to give her the whole weekend off. So we took on the cooking duties for the weekend. We went for a chinese evening on the Saturday which surprisingly went extremely well. On the menu was crispy beef with chilli sauce, lemon chicken, a duck dish, noodles, prawn, crackers and chinese fried rice.

Other folk as usual took their spells in the kitchen cooking Thursdays and Sundays to give Izzy her two days off a week.

Another weekend we had an African night. The meal this night was cooked by Izzy and was more a colonial meal than African as we were lacking such things as Buffalo, Wilder beast and Giraffe.

After dinner the night continued with Glen and Myself giving folk a tour of East Africa. I began with a bit about managing farms in Kenya. Glen then spoke about teaching college students carpentry skills for two years in Kenya. Where he first had to build the tools with his students before they could start teaching with them. I then gave a slide show and film showing of climbing mountains in East Africa from the tourist route on Kilimanjaro to first ascents in Kenyas Northern bandit country.

A lot of motivation came about after midwinter for learning in out of school hours. Spanish lessons began with the help of our resident expert Spanner. We had a few drop outs to start with but now it is down to a solid group of five. Jo, Dan, Paul, myself and Kat.

Ga’s took part in mech school run by Paul Best to try and get us up to speed for field maintenance for the coming season.

Jo did a superb job of running a doc school over several weeks. This covered blood transfusions, defibrillator, fitting a drip, inserting a chest drain and many other techniques. She even went to the extent of making fake rib cages for the chest drains.

The Ga’s continued Wednesday afternoon training in climbing and ski-mountaineering. The climbing advanced onto setting up belays and holding leader falls.

Well it has been another great month and hopefully next month will be as interesting somehow I think it shall be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kirk Watson

* Warning: Intrepid readers will notice here that Antarctica does not actually contain polar bears. If you spotted this please award yourself two points.