Archive for February, 2010


Ada II

February 28, 2010   

ADAIILast week when I was on my way back from Fossil Bluff Tris (comms guy) came up on the HF to ask me about my sailing experience as Skip Novak was sailing by base on Pelagic. Due to swine flu we are not allowing any private vessels or cruise ships stop at base this year. After landing I took a dive out to Rose Garden and also we stopped by a boat that was anchored between Donnelley and Anchorage. It turned out to be Isabelle Autissier on her boat Ada II. Isabelle is a legendary french singlehanded Open 60 sailor. We ended up having tea and biscuits on the boat and provided weather information for them for two days while they stayed at anchor and weathered the 35 knot northerly before heading south for some climbing.




Justin the chef does not like making puddings. Last week he asked me to come in an make them if I had the time. So as well as making the smoko treats I did the puddings – this week I did crunchy chocolate cornflake balls, cheese straws, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate chip muffins and some savoury scones.

On Monday I was on Gash so I made profiteroles which means piping 320 balls of chough pastry and then filling each one with cream after cooking them. I made a chocolate sauce of chocolate, milk, butter, honey and a dash of coffee. On tuesday I didn’t have time as there was so much going on at the boatshed but on wednesday I was back in with a steamed lemon sponge cake and custard. Thursday was a sticky chocolate marbled cake with a chocolate sauce. I had friday off as I was busy with Clive doing a second night in the crevasse. So many people wanted to go on the crevasse trip on thursday we had to do two nights in a row.

For Saturday night dinner which I ended up missing as I was up the hill staying in the caboose I made chocolate mousse in individual ramekins with rasberries and a bit of icing sugar on top. So a week of cooking in the kitchen I think I will have the week off this coming one!

Winter is coming here on base with two days of snowfall making the skiing at Vals beautiful and making the base look less like a quarry! The nights are drawing in and it is getting dark at 10pm now and not light until around 5:00am so gone are the days of 24 hour sunlight.

Folk Night

February 27, 2010   

On Saturday we had Folk Night which is when people can get up an do an act everything from showing a slide show to reciting a poem and of course singing, dancing and playing an instrument. People put a lot of effort into their acts and many of them were very funny. The field assistants who had just returned from a project on the Rutford Ice Stream did a brilliant rap act all about their time on the ice dressed in field clothing with chains of carribeaners and compasses around their necks. I guess you had to have been there! Matt Doc did a video for the winters going back into society about how to act in the real world. The BBC Frozen Planet team did a great 10 minute video with footage of the Wilkens Ice Stream and the dive team at Rothera.

Spy hopping

February 26, 2010   


A few weekends ago the air unit had a party over on Lagoon which required 7 boatloads to get them there and 3 to get them back. A few stayed on the island for the night. Unfortunately it was a beautiful morning but progressively the weather got worse until it was snowing. The hut is a tight squeeze for 13 men! On the way over with the first load we came across a pod of Orca’s which were playing around. Mark one of the pilots got this beautiful picture of one spy hopping.


February 25, 2010   


Most days there is something so beautiful happening around here you need to run and grab your camera. This was taken last month at midnight and the mountains on the peninsula were just beautifully lit up. We are in autumn now so it is actually getting dark between 11 and about 4am which is a nice change from the 24 hour sunlight which made you feel like you needed to be out and about enjoying.


February 24, 2010   


Some people have asked me how we get up the hill to go skiing. We either put skins on touring skis and skin the 4km to the little ski hill at Vals or we jump on one of the three base skidoos. We have tow lines we attach to the back of the skidoos and can tow two people on skis or snowboards up to the top of the hill as well.

Helicopters on the Palmer

February 23, 2010   


These are the helicopters which are on the Palmer which is a US research vessel that has visited us twice this year supporting the Larissa project. We were taken aboard the ship for a tour. The labs and oceanographic toys are pretty amazing. In fact they have a lot more lab space than we do at Rothera.

Dive Supervising

February 21, 2010   


As part of the marine team we all train to be dive supervisors so we can all cox the boat, supervise the dive or indeed dive. This is a picture of me talking to the divers using the underwater comms system. As supervisor you do paperwork ashore and make sure all the safety equipment is onboard as well as the normal dive equipment. When on the water you tell the divers what depth and time they are allowed and work with the cox to determine the best place to put the divers in the water. We always enter the water at about 6 meters so that we are a silohette for the minimum amount of time and we then proceed to depth along the sea floor. Leopard seals find it hard to see you when you are not a silohette. You help the divers get kitted up and then carry out the checks (air, clips, weights, knives, guages and profile) then put on their full face masks for them and tell them when they can roll off the boat. You also talk to the person doing seal watch to make sure they have not seen leps or orcas. You note the time the divers leave the surface and stay in contact with them asking for air, telling them how much time till they need to be at safety, making sure they get to safety, keeping them clear or icebergs and telling them how far they are from surface items etc. You note when the diver gets to safety and also when they are leaving for the surface. The time is noted when they return to surface and you dekit them and help them out of the water. Also we put the animals they have collected into a bucket of water on the boat for transport back to the auarium. If a lep or orca turn up you instructed the divers on what action to take and also in the case of a diver accident take charge of getting them back to medical attention.

Culinary delights on a reflex stove

February 20, 2010   

At Rothera we have two chefs so there is no food shoping to worry about etc. So when I went to Fossil Bluff it was fun to make food for the three of us there for the week. Most of the ingredients are dried and have to be rehydrated so you have to think in advance – dry corn, carrots, peas, beans, onions, olives, blueberries, egg, milk, black eyed beans, ming beans etc.

The ming beans can we soaked in water and put on the window sill and sprout about 4 days later giving a little greenery to the meals.
The bread I made was with wholemeal flour and dried yeast the problem was that straight out of the oven it smells so good you end up eating way more than you should.
reflex oven
The oven is a pan with a trivet in the bottom to hold the thing you are cooking in the warm airspace with a lid on top on the reflex stove which is fueled with Avtur dregs from the plane fuel drums at the skiway.

pizza dough
I also made some pizza dough for pizza one night.
make your own
The guys piled on the ingredients..

The scales are old fashioned…

homemade soup
Soup and bread for lunch – tasty

Jelly with whipped dried milk for dessert

For the all day dessert trifle will use up many hours! First make the victoria sponge
Then pour over jelly with peaches and let it set followed by making custard and pouring that on top and letting that set.

Then spend 3 hours whipping dried milk for a cream topping and grate chocolate on top.
Eat and enjoy!

Scrub Out

February 19, 2010   

doorsEvery Friday on base at 5pm all work stops and we have Scrub Out. Basically everyone on base has to do some cleaning whether it is cleaning windows, the FOD (foreign objects) plod (you pick up garbage and take it to the span), mopping out the boot rooms, moving food from feezers at the wharf etc. This is a picture of Clive and Amber washing down the bedroom doors in Admirals.