It’s Dec 14, a appropriate day for those of us advantageous abundant to be in Antarctica. On this day, 98 years ago, Norwegian charlatan Roald Amundsen became the aboriginal being to ability the South Pole. He was cutting skis and abundant fur accouterment and carriage his accessory abaft a aggregation of dogs (many of which became banquet throughout the journey).
Almost a aeon later, as I attending about our little affected at Cape Denison on the bend of the Antarctic ice shelf, overlooking the penguins of Commonwealth Bay, I can see how abundant has changed: high-tech waterproof fabrics and Velcro accept taken over from fur, Skidoos accept replaced the huskies and hand-held GPS can define our position to the centimetre.
One thing, however, has not changed: athletic canvas tents still serve as ideal adaptation on the ice, alike in the windiest abode on Earth, appropriate actuality at Commonwealth Bay.
My covering is pitched appropriate on the bend of the bay, area our aggregation is alive to conserve a celebrated board hut that was congenital a few months afterwards Amundsen won the chase to the pole. It was home to addition Antarctic explorer, Australian scientist Douglas Mawson, who was added absorbed in the “other” South Pole, the alluring South Pole which, clashing the geographic one, can move about.
Our sleeping arrange are aggregate amid the applesauce abode and tents. Six bodies accept called to beddy-bye central and four of us accept called to alive in distinct arctic tents, acceptance us the affluence of amplitude and amazing views.
In chief to beddy-bye outside, we had to booty into application the ice cook which will action during our break and could bathe our acting homes and the acrid katabatic wind that assault through Cape Denison.
Our neighbours, the Adelie penguins, appear by frequently to stop and beam – it’s a absurd sight. In the aboriginal hours of the morning you can see the penguins sleeping on the ice, broadcast aloof metres from our tents, and icebergs afloat beyond the bay in the distance.
Living in a covering in Cape Denison is an absurd acquaintance and best acceptable a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So no amount how algid it is alfresco it’s a absolute amusement to footfall out of my covering and booty a moment to acknowledge my surroundings. Although the wind is blatant throughout the night, the acquaintance of active outdoors in Antarctica compensates for any acting discomfort.
It’s consistently ablaze in the covering at this time of year, aback the sun never absolutely sets, but my eye-shades are not necessary. It’s too algid to accumulate your arch alfresco the sleeping bag. The alone abode to get a reasonable night’s beddy-bye is to be burrowed abysmal aural my sleeping bag with alone abundant air to breath.
We are now in our fifth day at Commonwealth Bay, at 67 degrees of breadth area the boilerplate temperature swings amid bare 13 and 5 degrees Celsius and the boilerplate wind assault 50 knots (120 kph).
Our canicule are busy, arranged with abundant concrete work, abundant aliment and lots of laughs.
Dr Peter Morse, official columnist for the Mawson’s Hut expedition, has entertained us abounding times with his black presentations. On one break he spent about a half-an-hour giving us a address with abundant diagrams on Antarctic toilet amenities which was acutely amusing.
We had a bewitched moment tonight aloof afterwards banquet aback one of the carpenters, Mark Farrell, shouted ‘Orcas’ and beatific nine of us scrambling out of our capital affected dwelling, the Sorensen hut, against the ice-edge area we saw about 20 Orcas on a hunting affair canyon appropriate beneath our eyes.
It was absorbing to see the penguins clutter up assimilate the ice, as admitting they knew their lives depended on it. Aural account of the whales passing, the penguins playfully confused aback into the water. It was an alarming acquaintance for all of us.
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