Glamping in Antarctica
We packed every single item of clothing we'd been issued with, ready for anything, but it was the most amazing weather. Such a gorgeous night - sunny, hardly any wind at all, and the ice crystals were glittering in the snow.
Mark, our field trainer, drove us in the Hagglund about half an hour out of Scott Base. We unloaded the gear and started practising our outdoor and survival skills (which some of us have more of than others). This meant, first of all, putting up the survival tent and three Scott Polar tents, and laying out our sleep kit - four layers of sleeping bags - so it was ready to climb into.
|Scott Polar tents in the gear storeroom|
|Setting up tents|
|Still no wind!|
|My home for the (sunny) night|
By about 8.30pm we were all set up and sitting in our camp kitchen, eating cheese and crackers and drinking cups of tea. It was still sunny and warm and we stayed there for nearly two hours, talking and having dinner (dehydrated meals from the Scott Base store) and more cups of soup, tea or milo.
I discovered that eating is quite hard when you are wearing snow goggles and can't see what you are doing, and when you want to be very careful not to spill anything, because it will have to be scooped up in its bed of snow and put into the food contamination bag. The aim is always to keep the Antarctic environment as pristine as possible, so there are lots of processes for waste management that have to be carefully followed.
The sun was high in the sky and still bright as day when we started getting ready for bed at about 11pm.Then everything went very quiet, for hours - apart from a plane that came in sometime around midnight, and a few gusts of wind that set canvas flaps fluttering. But it was light all night, which was so weird.
PS The toilet arrangements could have been a lot worse. There were a series of buckets (enough said). But at least it was inside a tent!