Tag Archives: Rothera

Work and Play

I’ve taken a vast amount of photos in the last few weeks since getting out of the field and haven’t really had the time to sort them into any semblance of order.  Hannah and a few others have commented on seeing photos of the “behind the scenes” stuff as well the pretty landscapes so I’ve been trying to get a bit better at taking these.  There is a couple of shots in here from earlier in the season as well.IMG_7317Serious science under the wing of a twin otter.  We are constantly surrounded by beautiful things but sometimes the pictures dont tell the full story.  This was in mid December with Mark and Hugh – this was taken just after midnight as I waited for Hugh to fit some ground penetrating radar into the hole Mark and I had just dug.  Always beautiful places but there is a lot of waiting around.
IMG_9428 The glamorous life of a field assistant.  Bradley trying to find some beefburgers in one of the many freezers.  In the end we unpacked about a third of the this freezer and still failed to find them.IMG_0485The HMS Protector in Ryder bay.  We have had a couple of ships in the last week, the protector and the final call of the Ernest Shackleton.
IMG_9445A very British BBQ.  We provided an a couple of days skiing for the crew of the Protector and then had a joint BBQ down at the wharf.  Not a massively glamorous location but the containers did make a good wind break.
IMG_8818 Octavian and Saz dismantling the sea ice camera.  Single day science stuff happens at very short notice whenever the weather plays ball – luckily most people need a field assistant to help get them to the site.  This camera was meant to take a photo a day for a year – unfortunately it was taking a photo a minute and only lasted a couple of weeks!IMG_8796 The glamorous life of a field assistant part 2.  Al sewing pockets in his tent.  You can just make out the climbing wall behind the tent – we definitely have the best office on base.IMG_8795 Three field assistants and the Comms manager, Danny hauling new batteries up to the radio repeater.  Each pulk had two batteries in each weighing 50kilos.  The guys looked pretty tired when they got back from dinner.IMG_8781 Rob walking out from an afternoons skiing in Stork Bowl – ski trips out of the flag line cross the boundary of work and play.IMG_8772 Al having a hard day at work.IMG_8104 Another science day trip.  Otty picking up “Algae samples” – judging by the huge elephant seal next to it I have no doubt what it was she was really collecting.  This was a pretty easy day for me as I was only there in case we got left out overnight.IMG_8089If I wasnt a Field Assistant I’d want to be a boatman – Adam coming to pick us up from some Algae sampling at Mackay point.IMG_9410We decided to head over to this extremely blue berg when out on the boat one day to check it out – unbelievable colours under a dark sky.
IMG_8466Otty also needed some samples from the nearby peaks.  Emma joined us (even though she is a marine biologist) and we decided to do a traverse of the three Stork peaks.  There were obviously no penguins or seals up there so it wasnt a surprise to me that there was also no “Algae”IMG_8455Otty and Emma enjoying the view from North Stork.IMG_7961More Science – I headed out with Ali (and two pilots, Al and Andy) so that she could fix the an automatic weather station.  Once I’d got us all across the non existant bergschrund I got to watch Ali do lots of things I didnt really understand.IMG_7966Andy and I amusing ourselves while we wait for Ali to finish (the swords are old geological markers)IMG_8121Another day another sciency thing.  Sam about to start working on a station that measures glacial rebound (how quickly the ground is coming back up after the ice has been removed) at Cape Marsh.IMG_8124Sam and Pippa checking out the extremely small Chilean hut at Cape Marsh.IMG_2349A happy elephant seal.

The last ship left this morning leaving only 21 people on base for the next six months.  Snow and strong winds made a fitting first day of winter.  Now its on to winter recreational trips for all the wintering staff.

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R is for Rothera?

I usually try for one blog post a month with around twelve photos.  Although I have managed this so far I can feel the photos building up and theres nothing worse than just hiding them away on a harddrive.  I also realised that I had not yet posted anything about Rothera where I am ultimately based for a year and half.  As a field assistant Rothera is the home we return to from the field complete with amazing food, internet access, phones, a bar etc etc.  It is also where all the equipment gets shipped into the field from but for most field assistants the R is really for Recreation.  While there is a decent area for people to ski and snowboard in (within a flagged area) all the staff at Rothera need a field assistant with them if they want to go outside this area.  Though this does mean that there is a slight tinge of work to your days off it does also mean you get to all the best places.  Included in this post is a few photos from the last four months when I have been briefly back at Rothera.IMG_5822Icebergs against the shore at the point.  This was taken on one of my first evenings on base in October.IMG_5837Cross at sunset at the Southern end of Base.  Mat Etheridge and Al Docherty trying not to shiver in the wind.
IMG_5838New Bransfield House (looking Northish)  New Bransfield holds the Dining room, Library, Bar, TV rooms and computer room.IMG_5899Admirals building at the start of season.  My window is the second alongIMG_5900Standard en suite room in Admirals.IMG_8046Rothera from the North.  The big building on the left is New Bransfield, the Yellow tower is the Comms tower and the building to the right is Admirals.IMG_5914Twin Otter being loaded with a skidoo (its a tight fit!) Rothera has the furthest south hard runway of any of the Antarctic bases so is also a busy airport.  IMG_2290Malcy leading the top pitch of “Blue Sky White Berg” (HVS) with the edge of the runway just visible at the bottom of the photo.  There are over 100 rock, ice and mixed routes within a quick skidoo of base.IMG_2325Me leading the top pitch of “Final Countdown” (E1)
IMG_6032The edge of Stork Bowl.  There is two ski slopes within the base flag line and then numerous other skiing oppurtunities on the surrounding peaks.  Stork Bowl is as much of a powder trap as there seems to be nearby.
IMG_6042 First line in Stork Bowl.IMG_6104 Thought I better include a picture of someone snowboarding (Tom Griffin)IMG_6119 Fran cruising.IMG_6139 Sam getting low on his telemark turnsIMG_7919 More climbing.  Al Docherty pulling through the steep section of “Release the Bats”(VS (though potentially a bit of a sandbag))IMG_7973In the show crevasse.  The show crevasse is used for training and recreation.  A quick lower or abseil into a crazy world of ice chandeliers.  Usually as a mountaineer you avoid going anywhere near crevasses but I have to admit it is pretty amazing to wander around the bottom of one for a while.
IMG_7978 The climb back out of the show crevasse.IMG_8008Rothera also has plenty of wildlife.  Elephant on the beach at Mackay point to the North of Rothera.  During the summer these are everywhere at Rothera burping and farting constantly and trying to sleep on the runway.IMG_8037 Sleepy Adelie.  Seeing as there have been complaints that I havent put any penguin pictures up yet I thought I better get one in.  Being in the Field all summer means that I have missed most of the penguins being around but I’m sure this wont be the last penguin you see on the blog!IMG_8131We very occasionally get tourist ships visit.  Today we had the “Fram” and they were kind enough to let us use their hottub!

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