Sunday, 13 December 2009
Well folks...I've been here nearly two weeks now and I haven't written to you for ages. My apologies. I have so many excuses to fall back on! Firstly just settling into a new routine and new way of life has been pretty exhausting...just going for a fag takes 3 days...get all outdoor kit on (1 and a half days)...venture into whiteout, light fag by placing half way up sleeve, whilst avoiding setting oneself on fire (10 minutes), stagger back in to kit room and take all outdoor kit off (remaining time to 3 days). I tell you...it really isn't worth it. However....for those of us going through the menopause,,,Antarctica is THE place for hot flushes.....sheer bliss...solved within 20 seconds!!!
The other excuse is the internet here which has about 10% of the capacity of an average broadband connection...most of us brought laptops with us...so many of us in fact that the Coms guys had a fit and promptly banned all internet use by personal laptops. Which means we all have to share 2 computers...you can imagine the queues.
Anyway excuses over!!
During the induction training I got to drive a Snow Cat and a skidoo (vital skills for Chefs I think you will find). The snow cat is huge and I never thought they would let me drive it ...it seem that here you just ask if you can and then they say 'on you go.' We had to practice hitching sledges to the back of it then driving around before depositing the sledge back. There are a few skidoo types some very fast others slower..... all seemed good to me.
My first few days here were spent getting to know the layout of the place and getting stuck into getting the Law's kitchen ready. As you can imagine with 5 of us there was a lot of 'excuse me' going on as we got in each others way. We finished at about 9pm each night and then I tucked into my 2 small beers and went of to bed since I was starting at 6am to make bread. Everyone here has a alcohol ration of 2 small beers a day which doubles up on a Saturday to 4 small beers. So that's my alcohol consumption down by 90% at a stroke! I think I might start stashing them and then have an almighty blow-out and probably end up having to be dug out of a snow-drift!
Sleeping can be quite entertaining. Sometimes the wind is so strong I can feel the building moving and I continually panic myself with waking up and wondering what the time is as it's daylight....but then it's always daylight. I am not sleeping very well!
A couple of days ago 3 of us chef people went out to the perimeter of the camp to get some supplies. How many other people do you know that have to adorn survival gear and ropes just to walk to the cupboard? I am still coming to terms with my unfitness and found that the only box I could carry across the snow and up onto the Law's platform was the crisps...well somebody had to do it. I hope to progress to powdered milk next week.
Enough said....tomorrow I shall tell you about my trip to see the Emperor Penguins....
It's an epic!