It is sad, but I am back again from the Antarctic. I learned a lot and can understand some things much better now. Reading the diaries and letters from the early explorers helped me down there to see many details much clearer (landscape, light, distances, temperature, windchill, and much more); however, it helps me now to understand their writing so much better. The time in the field was very exciting and the life at Scott Base is interesting. The people there are so helpful and it is amazing how they work there with such a calmness and precision. In comparison to the old huts or the life on the ships, when trapped into the ice, it is very comfortable to stay at the station but it has its restrictions – still. The weather is unpredictable and can be merciless and the daily comforts are very vulnerable as we have seen with the water supply.
I hope that was not my only trip to the ice and the next time, if there is a next time, I hope I can see the huts (Terra Nova Hut and Shackleton Hut). As historian it is an extraordinary experience to see the huts with your own eyes. The Discovery Hut is so much smaller than it appears in photographs and it was quite cold in there.
Now I have been there, I am hungry for more…..
Dr. Gazert (Drygalksi Expedition 1902 – 1903) with his fellows in their polar clothing
Modern clothing provided by Antarctica New Zealand
Picture taken from the plane on the way back to Christchurch: From the Antarctic Mountain Range – glacier flow visible.
It was bad weather today and so the flight was cancelled. Maybe it is happening tomorrow; that is life in the Antarctic! You have to deal with it!
This picture is from 1912 when Wilhelm Filchner (expedition leader) and his companion Alfred Kling (navigation officer) were traveling to examine the ice during the time when the ship Deutschland was frozen into the ice. Filchner is searching the horizon and at one of these journeys they proofed that Morrell Land was not existing. When I go, all the surrounding of Scott Base is known, and I hope to see it soon, maybe tomorrow… who knows…
At 16th December it will happen. I am on the first flight (of two) to Scott Base. Last week the PCAS students and 3 tutors were 3 days in Cass for the field training and after that we had 2 days of intensive out door first aid training. We will do some field work in the Antarctic and I get already instructions for the radar and some other handy advice. I really hope to see the huts. As historian it is even a professional task to see them.
This is Filchner’s hut. It was in the Weddell Sea, so on the other side of the place where I will be, but I hope that our camp will not end up like this.
This happened because the hut was built on an iceberg which turned over, consequently this hut is on no conservation plan…fortunately no one was hurt and only one dog went missing.
Scott Base is at its place since 1957 and on solid ground, so I think this will not happen.
This summer I will be heading to the Antarctic as a tutor for the PCAS course at the University of Canterbury.