Antarctic Life

A frozen outlook on life on the ice

Winter Trip

Halley VI, Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica 75°36'36"S 26°16'14"W

Temperature: -29.9°C

Wind Speed: 5 kts ESE

It has been quite some time since my last post and things are looking a little different around Halley these days. Gone are the 24 hours of daylight, replaced by a mere 6 and it is rapidly dwindling - in less a week there will be no more sun for the foreseeable future.

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I spy with my little eye... something beginning with "M"

Halley VI, Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica 75°36'36"S 26°16'14"W

Temperature: -8.8°C

Wind Speed: 14.8 kts E

The scenery around Halley, whilst breathtaking, is sometimes just a little bit too white and featureless. On the days where the visibility is high enough, and the mirage of the horizon is quite pronounced the steep rise of the continental ice stream is visible and breaks up the monotony of endless flat white.

However, I managed to have the opportunity to fly out on one of the Twin Otter aircraft, VP-FBC, or Bravo Charlie as it is referred to for obvious reasons. This was incredibly exciting for many reasons, not least getting to see the continent properly as well as the chance to see something other than just an expanse of flat white.

The Shackleton Mountain rangeView from the cockpit of Bravo Charlie

The flying schedule is exceptionally volatile and is subject to change minutes before a planned departure into the field. Sometimes flights to one location are cancelled in favour of another, often changing the crew travelling to the site, and often with less than a day's notice.

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The Endurance Centenary

Off the coast of Southern Africa 29.9368°S, 12.5000°E

Temperature: +20°C

Today marks 100 years since Ernest Shackleton's ship Endurance sank. It marked the end of an arduous struggle between the wooden ship and the brutal crushing power of the ice that surrounded it.

Commemorating the centenary onboard the RRS Ernest ShackletonCommemorating the centenary with the Shackleton family plaque and the RRS Ernest Shackleton plaque

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The Line Ceremony

Mid-Atlantic Ocean 20.7834°S, 0.2263°E

Temperature: +20.0°C

Act of crossing the equatorScreenshot of the ship's guidance computer when we crossed the line
So we have now passed the equator and with it came the age old tradition of the crossing of the line ceremony.The ceremony has been practised for hundreds of years within sailing communities and a ship's crew is splint into those who have passed the equator before (and posess a valid certificate) and those who have not (or have been foolish enough to forget their certificate!).
The view at the equatorNot much to look at when 17 degrees east at the equator!

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Madeira and onwards

Atlantic Ocean, Off the coast of Palma, Canary Islands 29.7011°N, 18.6195°W

Temperature: +22°C

So I've finally managed to see something worth taking a picture of during my journey south. Our first waypoint as I've mentioned is Madeira, where we had to stop to refuel in Funchal. The first sign I saw that we were finally nearing land was a solitary bird flying just outside my window - a very welcome sight having seen nothing but the vast expanse of ocean for a solid week.

I must admit having avoided being seasick for a few days, I finally started feeling a little rough once we hit the Bay of Biscay but soon found my sealegs only for us to hit dry land again!

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South Bound

Off the English Coast 52.5747°N, 1.2781°E

Temperature: -°C

This one will be a short post without photos unfortunately. The journey has finally started and we are currently making our way south from Immingham to Portsmouth, aiming to arrive tomorrow evening. For anyone interested in seeing the seas and view we currently have from the ship you can head over to the link here to view the webcam which is situated in the conning tower at the top of the ship facing forwards.

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