Antarctic Life

A frozen outlook on life on the ice

Pre-deployment

Plymouth, England 50.4173°N, 4.1067°W

Temperature: +18°C

So, it's been a while since my last post and its nearly time to leave the UK and begin the long journey south.
BAS Pre-deployment Training 2015
I have been on several amazing training weeks and met some fantastic people, some of whom I will spend many cold, dark months sharing Halley with, others who I unfortunately won't get to see down south.

If you were to ask many people who have worked with the British Antarctic Survey, they would almost unanimously say that the Girton College training week is one of their most memorable. The week spent at Girton gives all the new-comers as well as some frequent fliers the chance to meet other people going down south from all backgrounds.

Girton isn't just about having fun (although it is definitely encouraged!), it is primarily about ensuring that everyone is prepared to go south, some of the training is just the start of many hours of drills once we hit the ice.

Once Girton finishes, those of us staying for a little bit longer down south embarked on the winter teams training week. I thought Girton was fun, this was just as much fun if not more so. Several of us literally had sore sides from laughing too much, although in fairness we had also done some climbing routines the day before too.

Hard at workSome serious crevasse training

Winter teams training week is considerably more practical and involved everyone learning essential skills such as crevasse rescue and whiteout navigation. I can tell you it is genuinely quite terrifying having a bucket on your head whilst walking around a field on warm day in Derbyshire surrounded by people - I got lost very quickly and unlike Derbyshire buckets, I can't just remove a whiteout!

Whiteout simulationSimulating whiteout conditions in a nice warm field. Image courtesy of Ross Sanders

I can imagine the image below depicts the easiest conditions that I will face when trying to light one of the gas lanterns, although it was very wet outside it wasn't exactly what you could call cold.

Lighting gas lanternsImage courtesy of Ross Sanders

The next week will consist of my final goodbyes to my family before heading towards Cape Town. Internet will be painfully slow but hopefully I can squeeze enough bandwidth to update with some tales of the journey as well as a few photos here or there. Failing that, my next post will be from South Africa - possibly with some pictures of the local penguins - the jackass'.