As I mentioned in my last post which was now almost a month ago, if not a lot happens then I’ve not a lot to report. Some people prefer sitting and reading a book, watching a movie, taking their time and relaxing but I am unfortunately not one of those people, I need a purpose in which to direct my energy and concentration – I won’t deny that I’m currently getting quite bored…
It’s interesting how we class our function here as ‘expeditioners’ thus meaning that we are attending an expedition, don’t get me wrong I’m not arguing that but it certainly differs from my past experiences of expeditions and what is expected of you. Expeditions for me in the past meant catching and cooking your own food, sitting around a fire as a team of people and preparing food together, playing cards, writing diaries, cleaning & preparing equipment and discussing as a group our plans for whatever projects we were on – There was always a high level of energy expected and it took a certain type of person to thrive in that environment. Out here right now we have twenty people of varying skills and abilities who, on the whole, aren’t being pushed beyond about 20 to 30% of their normal daily operating capacity, the working day is fairly short and that creates a mood of lethargy in itself.
Now, I’m a person who doesn’t ‘like’ TV – I spent most of my childhood slumped in front of one and for that reason I have a particular dislike of the impact they have on us as human beings – You just need to spend ten minutes noticing what is important in peoples lives nowadays to get an understanding of it’s persuasive power – I found a nice quote the other day which goes:
“We live as if trapped inside a Sunday supplement: obsessed with fame, fashion and the three dreary staples of middle-class conversation: recipes, renovations and resorts. Anything but the topic that demands our attention”
……And don’t get me started on the likes of X-factor or other such ‘talent’ shows that unfortunately lead youth to think of them as viable career options.
Anyway (Muttering aside) – It’s quite funny that there is a daily period out here when there is nobody to be seen on station, it usually starts as around 7.30pm and lasts for a couple of hours after which everyone goes to bed – I can come out of my room and head to the LQ and find nobody around, seriously, not one person and that is down to the evenings entertainment usually being a film or TV series being shown. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a film, maybe once a fortnight but every night I couldn’t deal with. To add to this further ‘we’ (comms) maintain the audio visual equipment on station, there has been an ongoing issue with the cinema media centre since the start of the year and some clicking noises being apparent during playback of movies etc. I recently took the PC offline to do some work on it, found a few issues that warranted it being rebuilt and basically told everyone that it would be offline for a couple of weeks whilst I repaired it….You’d have thought I’d have committed an inhumane atrocity given some of the comments and replies I received..e.g.
“The cinema is a pretty big part of station social life and having it down for a few weeks could affect morale”
Well, I have attended some film evenings and I must say that I find it hard to class watching a film as ‘social activity’, nobody said anything from start to finish and everyone went straight to bed afterwards……If sitting in a dark room being exposed to works of unrealistic & incredible fiction is the way forward for socialising then I’m going to have trouble fitting in years from now!
I can’t help thinking of what the likes of Mawson, Shackleton or Davis himself would have to say on the matter should one of their crew challenge the social depravity of their expedition. This planet has gone soft….I really think people need to go back to basics..
Anyway, I’ve digressed somewhat into a bit of a moan, the Winter is not as interesting as Summer and the restrictions on what we can do and where we can go also remove a lot of the creativity that would generally keep us amused. Summer was sixteen hour days of non stop adrenalin and adapting to new situations which are how I operate best, I like to live under pressure, I’ve realised it’s what suits me as a person, having too much time on my hands is actually far more exhausting.
That said I’ve been hitting the gym harder than I have for a number of years, I now go regularly between 8pm and 10pm because everyone is watching the TV and I get the gym to myself…Every cloud 🙂
Tomorrow is the last day of visible sun for us, between 1327hrs and 1405hrs is when the sun is due to make it’s last visit and that’s only if we don’t have a cloudy day which it currently looks like we might. After that we are plunged into a fairly dark month where the sun doesn’t come back until the 10th of July and even then only for short periods again. During this time we have the midwinters day festivities – June 21st the austral winter solstice, marks the slow return of the sun to Antarctica. The most revered day in the Antarctic calendar, midwinter is steeped in history and tradition – the origins of midwinter celebrations started with Shackleton and Mawson and from that point on all nations across the continent stop to honour those early heroic journeys and those who have followed since in the name of science and environmental protection.
Midwinter is celebrated in grand style, with lavish feasts and entertainment and a mid winter swim through a whole drilled in the ice (Which I will not be doing as I’m not stupid!). Despite the isolation the 44 permanently occupied international stations share greetings and their photos on a day where less than 700 individuals each year have the honour of experiencing Midwinters in Antartica………
So that is our next focus…But for now, here’s some recent pics of around station and what we’ve been up to…