Adjusting back to life at Scott Base is like returning home from a long holiday. There are regular meal times, feasts would be a more accurate description. At 7, 10, 12, 3, and 6 you are fed with mounds of food with plate sizes starting at large. There is a running joke that you have to eat more than your body weight in food as you are in Antarctica and you never know when your next meal is going to be. If you are not careful you will end up looking like the seals out on the sea ice.
Life at Scott Base is not just all about the food. As it is essentially a giant box and going outside takes a significant amount of effort, there are often activities and events to keep the spirits high. During the first week back there was a barn dance with live bagpipes and a line instructor, it was the last place that I would expect to see a bagpipe. We spent the Sunday on a field trip exploring Castle Hill where you harness up to climb to the top, quite exhausting but the views are spectacular. From the top we could see cloud rolling in across the ice shelf so we quickly turned around to get back to base.
Stuck for nine days due to several storm cycles, some of the people at Scott Base were very keen to leave. I couldn’t think of a better place to be stuck! On the bright side, the storm cycle produced some of the nicest snow Antarctica has seen for a long time. It was bizarre to see people amazed at snow in Antarctica, what I thought would be the home of snow. The snow gods had delivered nearly a foot of fresh powder, and what better way to celebrate by going out skiing cross country.
We have started work on replacing the roof on Hillary’s (TAE/IGY) Hut, and it is about time that I became a roofer. I was always told by my father to get into a trade when I was younger. Here is my chance to live that dream and see if my dad was right.
Written by Chris Ansin, Antarctic Heritage Trust and Sir Peter Blake Trust Antarctic Youth Ambassador.