I was going to wait another week before doing a blog post but realised it was the end of the month. August has flown past – I don’t remember it starting and only noticed it was here when my payslip arrived the other day. We have had lots of sun over the last few weeks with settled weather and winter trips running every week. I am really realising the value of the winter trips this time round – having four people head off on adventures every week gives us something to talk about other than who hasn’t done the washing up and makes for a much more lively community as people are coming and going. My first two trips of this round have both been to the same place, the Myth. The Myth campsite is on the other side of Adelaide Island from Rothera and is at the base of some really impressive mountains (the Myth is a smaller subsidiary peak of “The Legend”). Camping on the far side of the island feels incredibly remote and even getting there is a bit of an adventure with a lot of time on the skidoos through some crevassed terrain. Self Portrait on the way to the Myth. Ben and I stopped to savour the first sun we had seen for a couple of months. It was still -25degC and we discovered our sandwiches had frozen solid.Trying to defrost my sandwich on the skidoo exhaust. The sandwich stayed frozen but I did have the lovely smell of toast coming out of the engine for the next couple of kilometres.First night at the Myth campsite with the milky way overhead. Bradders and Octavian were out on a trip as well so it was great to camp as a party of four.On our second day the four of us decided to drive to Carvajal Base. It was probably -30degC this day and we had to keep stopping as I kept loosing feeling in my throttle hand. The skidoos are not too bad to drive most days if you wear enough clothing as they have boot warmers and heated hand grips but I think -25 is probably the limit!Originally a British base and called Adelaide Station it was abandoned in 1977 when Rothera was established and given to the Chilean’s in 1984 who renamed it Carvajal
The base is in a stunning location though pretty run down and its amazing to wander around an Antarctic ghost town. Above the base is an abandoned plane which is great for random photos. Bradders and Ben trying to fly the plane.
Another game of scrabble. Ben and Octavian where both very keen to visit Carvajal so were thankfully not too put out when we got stuck in the tents for three days after we had visited. “Lie up” days can be great fun with a bit of food and some games. Emily and I visited Carvajal two weeks later in much warmer temperatures (-15)Emily had asked to build and igloo on her trip so when we woke up in a cloud on the second day it seemed an ideal opportunity. Emily looking worried about having to build the roof over her own head.Tent and Igloo at night. We managed to get the roof to stay on the igloo on our second attempt. The peak above the igloo is “The legend” with the Myth the triangular subsidiary peak to the left.Bradders and Matt had waited a couple of days but came and found us at the Myth campsite. We did offer for them to stay in the igloo but they declined. The four of us enjoying the sun.Emily and I also had a day exploring some other areas. We managed to climb to a coll between two mountains (Mt Mangin and Mt Barre) to get some views back towards Rothera. Above – Amazing spindrift coming off the Mt Mangin ridge.
The view back towards Rothera in the bottom right of the photo. As you can tell this was pretty late in the day by the time we got up to the coll (lots of false summits) but it meant for an amazing drive back in the sunset.Emily pleased to have finally made it.
The end is in sight. My skidoo and sledge in McCallums pass. Getting through the pass with a good amount of visibility is crucial so its always a relief to get there and find it looking like this. The photo doesnt show some of the danger in the pass – the severely crevassed shambles glacier is heading down to the sea on the left and the pass goes up to the right of the mountain the skidoo is heading for (and through some more crevassing).Cant wait to get rid of the beard. I am now trying to hang on until I’ve had it for a full year but it is pretty frustrating when your beard freezes to your moustache and you cant open your mouth!
The high pressure has broken at Rothera with a fairly stormy weekend but I’m currently waiting to see what the weather does tomorrow for my next winter trip – this time with the dive officer Kate.