Sunday, 22 April 2007

Mark's 30th - Top Of The Pops Party

To celebrate Mark's (GA) 30th birthday we had a 'Top of the Pops' themed party. There were some great costumes both stunning and disturbing. I went for the obscure having found some armour in the fancy dress box I covered it with dried banana chips thus giving Banarama.... It was a good source of post-beer snack even if some people didn't get it! I'll let the photos explain themselves.

Photos by Ali Simpson (Doc)

The night progressed with a top 30 countdown from Smashey and Nicey (Tris and Mark) ending with a performance from the band. A good evening and yet another excuse to dress up :)

Monday, 16 April 2007

The JCR - the last ship North

The JCR arrived on 9th April to bring the final supplies for winter and to take the remaining summer visitors home. On 14th April, following a busy few days of unloading supplies and re-loading with cargo from Rothera, the JCR was ready to depart.
Unpacking the winter supplies of frozen food

The 22 winterers gathered on the wharf to see her off with the aid of some out-of-date flares. It was a strange feeling waving goodbye to our last physical contact with the outside world for 6 months.

There then followed 2 days of a base-wide 'scrub-out', where we put our normal jobs on hold to tidy and 'winterise' the base. We were expecting a 2nd round of practical jokes to be left by the departing builders, however their imagination seems limited yet cruel - they have hidden (or eaten?) the base's only supply of jaffa cakes!!!! We are not amused. It's certainly a lot quieter here now but we're all in high spirits looking forward to the magic of the Antarctic winter :o)

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Under The Sea....

Diving in Antarctica is a part of my job (how brilliant is that!). It's not as cold as you might think, despite the water temperature being a chilly -0.5 degrees C our dry suits keep us fairly warm. We use 'Agas' (a type of full face mask) with in built comms which allow us to speak to eachother underwater and to the supervisor at the surface. Diving tasks may include photographing settlement plates, checking study areas for signs of iceberg scour and retriving data loggers which record temperature and flourescence (which gives an indication of the amount of phytoplankton in the water column, loggers can be seen in the photo below).

As the temperatures drop over the next few months the surface of the sea will start to freeze. Once it's in a stable state we'll be able to create holes using our outrageously sized chainsaw and dive under the ice. Now the summer phytoplankton blooms are dying off the visibility is improving all the time. This week it's been about 20m but we can apparently expect 50m + in winter.

Musical Madness

Rothera's wintering band have been asked to record a song for Al Gore's Live Earth, to be shown to 2 billion people worldwide in July. Fortunately due to our location our performance will be pre-recorded and not live (phew). This month a BAS photographer visited Rothera and one of his tasks was to get some photos of 'Nunatak' (the band formerly known as Rachet Death). It was certainly an unusual photo shoot.....