Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Rothera, Antarctica

There are lots of different gateways to Rothera. I flew from London to Madrid, Santiago, Punta Arenas. From Punta Arenas we flew by Dash 7 over the southernmost point of Chile, and then south to Antarctica. Sitings of sea ice and ice bergs indicated the decreasing temperature as we entered the Antarctic circle. I was lucky enough to sit up front with the pilots during the landing into Rothera but as we descended we passed through thick cloud and heavy snow so had very limited visibility. The runway popped up out of no-where, and suddenly we were standing in a small aeroplane hanger looking out onto a very snowy landscape that will be home for the next few months.

Over the following hours snatches of our surroundings were unveiled as the cloud slowly lifted. It was the perfect way to be introduced to Rothera, I think seeing it all at once would have left me a little shell shocked! Rothera is on the eastern side of Adelaide island. To the west we look out over the sea and to the mainland. To the east of us is a glacier (the ramp) leading to steep mountains and the rest of Adelaide. North and south look out over the sea where the scape is dotted with islands and icebergs. When the wind is blowing in the right direction the bays around us fill with sea ice which can disappear within hours. The colours of the ice are wonderful, white on top and blue underneath but they change with the weather. And the icebergs are so unbelievably big and barely seem to move at all.


Jane said...

What a wonderful photo, v strange light, what time of day I wonder.

Rosey Grant said...

Thanks Janey, it's not very real I'm afraid as I fiddled with the colours and light quite a bit. This iceberg has been sat here for ages and I always think of a whale when I see it so I wanted to make it really blue.