103 Days of Darkness

Life on an Antarctic research station when the sun's gone down for the winter...and then come back up again

Top Gun Antarctica

Last week I spent a day as a co-pilot flying out to lay a fuel depot high up in the Theron mountains to the south of the base. Not only was it an amazing experience having the controls (however briefly) when there was no contrast between ground and sky and a fair bit of cloud, it was the first proper solid ground I’d stood on in exactly a year after being on a ship and then the floating ice shelf the base sits on!

The mountains themselves are sheer cliff-like peaks that rise up out of the ice covering the high plateau. Hanging glaciers cap the tops of the cliff faces and massive rivers of ice pour from between the peaks, relentlessly sculpting the landscape as they slowly move through.

Flying over the ice shelf gives an incredible perspective of the sheer scale of the place, as stadium sized icebergs appear as tiny specs and the base looks like a blue and red caterpillar crawling over an infinite white tablecloth!

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