After my last post I recieved a few emails from friends asking for more information, more writing and to know what it is I am up to. I will try and fill in the gaps a wee bit though I do like the thought of people having to do a little homework and look things up!
I am currently working as a Field Assistant for the British Antarctic Survey. BAS conduct enviromental science in Antarctica and also hold a presence on the continent to get a say in the Antarctic treaty. The field assistant job was described by my manager (the Field Operation Manager) as facilitating the science in the field. While this is true for all jobs with BAS the field assisstants are the ones on the ground making sure that the scientists (beakers in BAS terminology) stay safe, everything from glacier travel to cups of tea. The job is varied with loading and unloading vehicles, skidoo driving, camp managing and cooking, taking people skiing and climbing for their recreation, endless digging and the slightly randon co piloting of planes.
I am on an 18 month contract with BAS and will be based at Rothera until early 2017. The two summers will be filled with field work and the winter with recreational trips for the wintering staff who all get a couple of weeks holiday skiing, climbing etc.
I am briefly back at Rothera after a few weeks on various projects and will try and get up a couple of blog posts up before I head out again.
First up I was sent off to Fossil Bluff which is a very small BAS base operated by just two staff during the summer months. It has a reputation as a bit of a holiday spot as the only real work is giving weather observations (Met Obs) every hour and refueling planes that come in on their way further south. Fossil Bluff is about 300 km from Rothera on Alexander Island looking out on the George VI Sound. The hut was built in 1960 and was actually wintered in by 3 men in the winter of 1960/1961. The place oozes history and the book about the first winter, “The Silent Sound” is a great insight into the “old days” where the men would throw their rubbish out the door and let the wind blow it away, had an underground snow toilet and a generator that stopped working 2 weeks after they had been abandoned (in true antarctic style they also ran out of food and fuel for their stove).