Lachie Cromar heads to Antarctica for the first time as part of our Summer conservation team
Your first journey to Antarctica is a difficult thing to prepare yourself for. Well it was for me at least, and I’m not necessarily talking about the packing of your bags or deciding which shoes to take.
It’s an emotional roller coaster of feelings of anticipation to feeling like you’re in way over your head. Many new faces to meet, a stark and lonely landscape at the bottom of the world and cold temperatures that coat the sea with a layer of ice a few meters thick. A daunting challenge but one I felt I couldn’t turn down.
On arrival in Christchurch and after meeting the crew that I would be spending the next seven weeks with, all my doubts turned into excitement and eagerness for the adventure ahead. Just getting to Antarctica is an adventure in itself, crammed in the back of the Hercules C130 with a mountain of cargo. Its an iconic and slightly uncomfortable ride, the deafening low drone of the machine hardly allows you to take your earmuffs off for the eight hour journey. Of course, I can’t help but think how comfortable the flight really was compared to the months those early explorers would have spent on boats to reach a similar destination.
When the Hercules shuts down and the doors open, I was overwhelmed by the landscape. The air is so cool and crisp. Standing on the flat, snow covered ice shelf with heavily glaciated mountains in the distance, it’s a vista you can’t really get anywhere else in the world. Stepping off the Hercules onto the ice for the first time is certainly a moment I’ll never forget.
Lachie Cromar and Megan Absolon on arrival in Antartica. © AHT/Lachie Cromar