Personal: January 10 2003!

Okay, Okay! I hear you all! Thankyou for the wonderful emails that have

been coming in..and sorry for my laziness in replying. I shall try to do

better next time!

And the questions, I’ll try to answer. It’s difficult though. It’s been

busy, very busy…but also very of-another-planet-like and I don’t

really know where to begin. Relief, Relief is when I wrote last I

think..and that was a fairly poor attempt I admit. As of New Years Eve

we’ve been off night shift, off relief and onto more of a normal

schedule, if anything here can be described as normal. The days, the

working hours, the food, the people I can all describe to you. But that

doesn’t bring across the feeling like I’m on the moon.

The working days are 8am-7pm with various tea, coffee and food breaks

in between. The food is outstanding. Yes, fresh fruit still! Fresh

veggies! Amazing vegetarian options being delivered three times a day.

Stir-fry, spanakopita, cheesecake, strudel, curry, quiche, …I haven’t

eaten this much diverse and good food so…ever probably.

(And that’s no offence meant to my mum…it’s hard to beat two new

desserts every day!)

The people are still the same as the ones on the ship, plus those who

came in early and, of course, those who have been here all winter (or

two). Thankfully, the latter group are amazingly sane and normal. In

many ways they’re my favourite of the lot as they have a certain comme

si, comme ca about them that the ever-rushing summerers cannot enjoy,

the season being very limited in time. So much to do! Labs to build,

buildings to jack up so thy don’t get buried, generators to install,

fuel drums to be brought in and out, carpentry, electrical work, mast

erecting, cable lying, plumbing… plus, ofcourse, the science. From my

side of things I’ve started drilling a 20m hole with a hand drill (that

I’ve been dreading). It’s comical but coming along. Next comes blimp

flying and then after that, moving into the New Lab.

Aaah yes, The Lab!

It’s Up! Hurrah, hurree…amazing of most mazing days… three shipping

containers hoiked on a platform. Take off the middle walls and kaboom!

here’s a ready to rumble lab. Well, almost. We still need power, and

floors, and some work on the platform, and wiring, and plumbing… but in

principle, it’s ready to go. And what a lab! State of the Art stuff

this. My favourite bit? The electropolished tubing? The high-volume air

flow filters? The window that the laser will fire through? No, of course


The view from the window.

What a stunning job all the workers have done at not setting a toe,

boot or snowball in the Clean Air Sector to the immediate East of the

lab. It’s as if the lab was flown there. Looking out the window, there

is white. Expansive, infinite, flat…but not flat. Look at the

sastrugi! Look at the wind patterns. A solitary bird. The Clouds. Of

course, the clouds. The Sky. Always different.

Out there, out there is Antarctica. Silent, apparrantly empty,

essentially untouched by human hand. No life even.

People relate to saving trees, saving whales, protecting living things.

What are we protecting here? There is no life out there. Except the

whole of the Earth and all the life it supports. That blows my mind.

5 thoughts on “Personal: January 10 2003!

  1. Combination: being on the moon with two new puddings a day with a bunch of normal people. I can see why one could like this.

    But drilling a 20m hole with a hand drill-is this an exercise to keep you occupied and out of touble? How do you do it? No battery operated drill even? Surely batteries can survive your summer temperatures? Well, whatever you do, continue the enjoy it and soak up those views from your lab. Must beat any lab you have worked in sofar, possibly even the outdoor setup in Ireland.

    Greetings from melting, grey Cambridge. To be fair, we have had quite a lot of stunningly beautiful crisp cold days. As the Brits say “mustn’t crumble”.


  2. Back after being away and find this view on the ice reaching me in a far away place that isn’t icy at all (probably never will be).

    Flying, more soon.

    Trying not to crumble.


  3. Rhain

    Glad that you have been lazy about adding to your diary and replying to emails. It does always take me a while to make contact! Happy Hogmanay. Wow. It has been great to read up on your news – Life in Dublin is plodding along nicely. Your name sake is beautiful, Christmas was great with a baby to fuss over. We had a couple of cm of snow in Edinburgh– I’m certain it isn’t the same. Take care and don’t get lost in the snow or down the hole- you obviously have puddings to concentrate on. Jenny

  4. rhian you’re making me cry! i’ve just read about the Lab With a View and i’m stunned and calmed and excited and moved and awed all at the same time. i’ve enjoyed reading about your adventures and even though i haven’t written, i’m thinking about you! it sounds like you’re having the time of your life and hell, you should be! your living the life, jamming it up, going to extremes–forget Temptation Island! forget Survivor! no one gets voted off here! anyway i ramble now. keep writing!


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