.... science never sleeps. An opportunity came up for Mairi and I to visit our weather station on the Ronne Ice Shelf. It's a long journey, stopping at Fossil Bluff to refuel, then a further 2.5 hours south. Once on the ground our work went well, raising the weather station clear of the accumulated snow and checking all was working as it should. We finished at 7pm and were then due to fly north to Sky Blu where we could camp for the night before returning to Rothera the following morning. However, that night Rothera found itself with every single plane out in the field. At least one plane should always be at Rothera for search and rescue missions. As we had completed our work we were called back to base that night. So from Sky Blu, we pushed on through to Fossil Bluff, then from Fossil Bluff back up to Rothera. Despite the long hours the final stint of the journey was utterly beautiful with the sun not quite setting behind us as we flew the last few miles back to base. To cap it all, the Movember party was still going strong and we were greeted with a lot of cheery people waving from the Boatshed as we came into land.
Saturday, December 01, 2012
Movember at Rothera. Being in Antarctica does not stop our menfolk from sporting some excellent moustaches. Movember, Antarctica Day and 1st of December was to be celebrated at Rothera with a Movember Award Ceremony (prizes for the best, bushiest and worst), a BBQ on the wharf, and a Boatshed party with live music from Antranceica. It was going to be an excellent evening, but sadly one that I would miss because meanwhile..... (Thanks to Rose for the photo)
Posted by Rosey Grant at 5:24 pm
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
We reached base and were able to carry George straight into the surgery where Mairi, Ash and Rob had been working hard to set everything up. On closer examination, we decided that the only option available to George was amputation at the hip at which point he declared himself miraculously recovered. Thanks again to Dr Rob doc for the photo, and for all his patience and expertise in explaining what we did and didn't get right.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 4:05 pm
After getting caught up in the bothy bag, tripping over George and tripping over his bad leg several times, we finally managed to get him splinted and strapped to a stretcher for the journey home. The terrain on west beach is fairly rocky so we had to carry him and drag him as best we could, until we reached the skidoos. Thanks to Dr Rob doc for the photo.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 3:49 pm
George (our base commander) had dropped a hint that there may be a training incident on Wednesday afternoon. So when at lunch time today he got up to "go for a walk around the point" we suggested that maybe he would rather stay indoors with us, safe and sound. There was no persuading him however, and 30 minutes later he had missed his sign-back time. To make matters worse it suddenly turned out that Dr Rob doc was conveniently "in the field, and not coming back", along with Dave, our head FA. Cue mild panic and station wide mayhem. Adam, our comms manager and deputy BC, took control and soon had Scott and me running out to east beach with some immediate aid supplies. We found George in an unhappy state sprawled on the beach with a badly broken leg. This is George, in our capable hands. And me, not holding his neck still (because I kept forgetting I was supposed to), not administering oxygen (because we couldn't make the cylinder work) and giving him anaphylactic shock (because he is allergic to the pain relief I tried to give him). Thanks to Dr Rob doc for the photo (who wasn't in the field afterall).
Posted by Rosey Grant at 3:30 pm
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Rothera A+E on a Thursday afternoon. Poor Greendog was tackling the post lunch washing-up when an unyielding pineapple tin sliced the top of his right-hand middle finger. Dr Rob doc thought it would be the perfect opportunity for us to practise our sewing skills so, after he dosed Rob up with some local anaesthetic, I put in the first stitch and Sister Jackson administered the second. Dr Rob doc guided us through perfectly and Rob was the perfect patient. He is now back up on his feet, and will make a full recovery. Just another day in Rothera A+E.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 12:20 pm
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
A foggy, almost-Spring morning at Rothera. Despite the fact that it has only been 3 weeks since Midwinter, it feels very Springy here today. The temperature has suddenly increased 10 degrees to a balmy -5, and the winds have died right down. Still no sign of the sun though- I took this on my way back from smoko, at 11 o'clock.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 7:38 am
Sunday, June 17, 2012
With the temperatures staying consistently low (-16 degrees C here), sea ice is forming around Rothera point. Once the ice is fully formed our team of field assistants will do daily thickness measurements. When it is above 25cm we will be able to head out onto the ice for diving and recreation.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 8:38 am
Saturday, June 02, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
One of the highlights of wintering at an Antarctic base is Midwinters. It's taken as seriously as Christmas is at home, and of course, there are presents. Unlike at home, there is no chance of popping into town for Christmas shopping so we make do with what we can find on base. At the beginning of winter we each pulled a name out of a hat. I got Adam comms and, after much debate, I began designing a patchwork quilt made out of fabrics from all over base. Here it is in the early stages, with pit room curtains, fleece sleeping bag liners, FID shirts, ventile, orange overalls, tent fabric, burnt tea-towels, BAS t-shirts, hoodies and badges, and a bit of Javelin Jones' parachute.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 7:29 am
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
The Rothera 2012 wintering team at sun-down with what is left of our flag. At sun-up Scott (the youngest member of the team) will raise a new flag. From left to right: Dr Rob doc, Dave, Tom, Phil, Jacko, Dale, Steve, Muzza, me, Jack, Ash George, Scott, Mr Boat, Ash, Greendog, Justin and Adam. Thanks very much to Adam for the great photo.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 2:00 pm
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
We have a satellite dish here called ARIES (Antarctic reception of images for environmental science). One of my morning jobs is to check the images coming in through Aries to make sure the dish is working correctly. Each image shows part of Antarctica (outlined in orange) and the cloud above it. This image of the Antarctic Peninsula was captured this morning at 05:00 and shows a tightly furled system heading our way. We've had a lot of snow over the last few hours and winds are reaching 40knots.... better batten down the hatches!
Posted by Rosey Grant at 12:18 pm
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
I know it looks like another picture of Rothera but we've just realised we've only got 10 more days of sunshine, so I thought I should make the most of it. I took this at 12:50, just 40 minutes before solar noon. It's difficult to say exactly when our last sight of the sun will be but, as is Rothera tradition, we're having a Sun-Down Flag Lowering Ceremony on Friday 18th May.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 10:57 am
Monday, May 07, 2012
In the Comms Tower. This is where all the official comms (including air traffic control) takes place. It's the orange tower shown in this post, overlooking the runway. In a major incident, this is also where all the base officials muster. There is a big red button at the centre of the front panel labelled Crash Alarm, which takes a lot of will power not to press. This is also where Tom and I go to do our weather observations, as it gives us a good view of the sky and the surrounding area.
During the winter we have radio scheds every evening with all the winter trip parties. There are a few formalities we have to cover during the sched ('What is your location?', 'What have you done today?', 'Are you both safe and well and is your CO monitor working?', 'What are your plans for tomorrow?'). After that we usually have a few minutes to chat and exchange news. I've also been trying to give a weather forecast for the next few days, with varying success.
Today, we had a particularly special sched. San Martin (the Argentinean base on the mainland, just across Marguerite bay) got in touch with us. We chatted to them for almost an hour, comparing bases, life styles and wintering traditions. There are 24 people wintering at San Martin, all men, and all except four of them with wives and children at home. This is Phil and Mairi (front), Tom and Dr Rob Doc (middle) and George and Adam (background, with George talking to San Martin). It was fantastic to chat with our wintering neighbours.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 12:29 pm
Friday, April 27, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Posted by Rosey Grant at 7:12 pm
Friday, April 20, 2012
Over the winter Dr Rob doc is running Docschool. So far we have learnt some basic first aid, triage and how to prepare the surgery. Today Rob also taught us how to put cannulas in. Here's Tom expertly demonstrating how it's done, while I'm expertly demonstrating how to look cool, calm and collected and not at all scared! Thanks to Dale and Tom for the photo.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 7:28 am
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Scott and Dale visiting during an afternoon of lie-up. Pyramid tents work incredibly well and are very comfortable. They are tall enough to stand up in, with plenty of space to hang wet gear. With the stove and the tilly lit we managed to get the temperature up to a sweltering 30 degrees, while outside the storms raged on. We put our lie-up time to good use. Steve taught me to splice ropes, I started (but then gave up on) Wuthering Heights, Scott beat us all at yahtzee, and Scott and Dale decided on the definition of a gentleman (someone who waits for a girl to leave the tent before farting).
Posted by Rosey Grant at 6:44 pm
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Antarctica in winter can be a bit blustery (even in its first week). High winds, low cloud and a lot of snow kept us tent bound for several days but it was still a great experience, and every so often the cloud would lift to reveal snatches of the surrounding, spectacular views.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 6:38 pm
High winds and heavy snowfall can cause serious problems so campcraft it pretty important here. From foreground to background is a skidoo (fully tarped up and pointing into the wind. Skidoos have been known to blow away!), a nansen sledge (carrying fuel, tents, food, first aid equipment, and spares of everything), second skidoo, second nansen sledge, and pyramid tent (sleeps two people very comfortably). This is then repeated down the line for the second pair. All the equipment is constructed in an evenly spaced line, facing into the wind, to allow snow to channel through, and prevent anything being buried in drifts.
Monday, April 09, 2012
During the winter every member of the team heads out into the field for a winter trip. The idea behind it is to give everyone a break from base (and base a break from everyone!) and to provide field training. Four of us (Scott and Dale, Steve and me) headed out just two days after the Shack left. Each pair travels with two skidoos and two nansen sledges, all roped up to protect against crevasse falls. We skidooed to the south-west of Adeleide Island to an area known as Myth, and set up camp.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 6:17 pm
Friday, April 06, 2012
Posted by Rosey Grant at 6:04 pm
Ever since I got this job, I have been told about what it will be like when the Shack leaves Rothera for the last time at the end of summer. For the wintering team it is a very significant moment. Although we have been living and working together for the last six months, it has been on a bustling, busy and light base full of people and activity. The Shack leaving marks the beginning of winter and the point of no return. I think all of us were looking forward to it with equal measures of trepidation and excitement. The night before the Shack was due to set sail we were invited on board, as is tradition, for drinks and a winterers dinner. Early the next morning, with sore heads and slightly jittery stomachs that had nothing to do with the night before, we all gathered at the wharf to wave her off.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 5:23 pm
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
With the planes all fledged, base has suddenly become a lot quieter. We are now down to about 40, 18 of whom will be staying through the winter. The remaining people are waiting for the Ernest Shackleton to take them north at the beginning of April. Suddenly this wintering lark seems a lot more real. This is four of us, from left to right, Tom (electronics engineer), Mairi (marine assistant), Tim (sparky) and Adam (comms manager), enjoying a Sunday afternoon boat ride.
Posted by Rosey Grant at 6:42 pm
Saturday, March 10, 2012
With all the field work completed, the air unit was able to pack up and fly home. One by one the Twin Otters left Rothera to begin their long journey north. On 1st March the Dash 7 was the last to leave. As we waved it good bye we began rolling away the runway, ready for the winter. As it turns out it was needed much sooner than we thought. There was one more Basler still trying to get home. It was stuck at Halley with its back wheel ripped out of the undercarriage, a result of one too many rough landings. After a lot of will-they-won't-they, the plane was finally fixed and ready to fly north, via us. This is the Basler, our actual real last plane of the summer leaving Rothera. Runway status? No known traffic!
Friday, March 09, 2012
Posted by Rosey Grant at 6:19 pm