Saturday, 8 March 2008


Yes... to you this may be 'just a banana' but to me it is very likely to be my LAST banana for EIGHT MONTHS. This makes me very sad.

We're coming to the end of the summer season at Rothera. The last two Twin Otter Aircraft left today and the larger Dash 7 leaves tomorrow. Then it's just 4 weeks until the ship (the James Clark Ross) arrives and collects the remaining summer staff leaving the 22 of us in peace for winter.

It's a strange time. Summer has been busy yet enjoyable and has brought the usual mix of cool and interesting people through the base. It is especially sad to have to say goodbye to some very good friends but exciting to be spending another winter in such an amazing place.

Thursday, 6 March 2008


One of the things I like most about being here is that you can wake up expecting another 'ordinary' day and it can turn out to be completely extraordinary - today was one of those days.

The weather improved (after 2 days of 30+ knot winds) and so the previously cancelled 'Winterers orientation flight' was re-scheduled. The winterers get to fly around Adelaide Island and the local area to get a feel for the place and see where they might like to go on their winter trips ('holidays'). We boarded 'Daisy' (the Dash 7 aircraft) and I got to sit in the 'jump seat' (in the cockpit) for take off :)
We spent an hour in the air flying through the Fijords to the East of Rothera, past the Argentine base San Martin and the old (unoccupied) bases of Horse Shoe Island, Stonnington and Carvajahl. Truly awesome scenery - I don't think I'll ever get bored of the mountains, snow, crevasses and ice.
The Myth (in the foreground) a mountain I climbed on my winter trip last year


Sunlight shining through the clouds on to Marguarite Bay and the peaks of the Antarctic Peninsula

Horseshoe Island (you can just make out the hut on the peninsula), if we get good sea ice we may just make it here on our winter trips - here's hoping.
Following this Birgit and I were on SAR (Search And Rescue) boat cover for the 2nd Dash flight (we generally have a boat on the water... just in case) so we got to drive the lovely Stella (twin engined RIB - Rigid Inflatable Boat) for a while which is always a pleasure.
Daisy taking off over Hangar Cove
After lunch Birgit and I enjoyed a rather pleasant dive in Hangar Cove. The underwater visibility has improved greatly over the last week and is now about 15m.

To top off an already fabulous day Drew and I tackled an ice climb on 'Exhibition Buttress' which I believe is so called as it is directly at the top of the ramp and so the whole base can see you making an exhibition of yourself. We took it in 2 pitches, I lead the 1st and Drew the 2nd. We ended up walking off in the dusk (which is currently around 10pm) which was very cool.

Exhibition Buttress - the climb was straight up the mushroom shaped patch of ice

Me leading the 1st pitch

I finally got to scratch my new ice axes :)

Drew at the top with views over Ryder Bay.

The ramp & start of Reptile Ridge (Exhibition Buttress can be seen in the middle), the Hangar is the large building to the left. To the right of the photo is South Cove (leading into Ryder Bay) and to the far left - the imaginatively named Hangar Cove. This photo was taken from my bedroom window - I can't really complain about the view.