Antarctic Heritage Trust Conservator, Belinda Hager talks about celebrating Christmas, Antarctic style
Christmas Day 2021 marked our first day off since arriving at Cape Royds – needless to say, it was a slow start! We got up to near perfect conditions, with Erebus steaming away and the sea ice looking less stable in the warm weather. After a leisurely brunch of hash browns and pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, we all prepared for an afternoon’s walk.
We headed out towards the northern coast. There was still a lot of snow and ice in the valleys and lakes – providing an opportunity to slide downhill like kids on sledges….without the sledges!
The team on a Christmas Day walk © Jane Hamill/AHT
When we reached the coast, at a black sand beach called, imaginatively, Black Sand Beach, we stood near the sea ice, where it was starting to break up, seeing the change in texture.
We walked back around the coastline, meeting a couple of nesting penguins along the way. Huge Weddell seals lazed on the ice, as penguins busily ran around, or swam through the pools appearing in the melted ice.
In the evening we did a Secret Santa. Gift-giving wasn’t the only thing that made it feel like Christmas – we all took turns on the satellite phone to call family and loved ones.
Christmas Eve visitors getting a tour of the Venesta case conservation after delivering some Christmas goodies © Jane Hamill/AHT