Tuesday, 23 October 2007


"Stay on the plane. We've got two Twin Otters that have been circling while they wait for you to land, and another about to take off. We'll come get you when we're ready to walk you across the runway. Oh...uh, welcome to Rothera."

And with that greeting from the Base Commander, here I am at Rothera! The weather window was indeed good, and we flew down here in the BAS Dash 7. Pretty comfy flight, and I got to sit in the jumpseat of the cockpit as we took off from Punta Arenas. It was cloudy most of the way, but cleared up just at the end for a breathtaking view as we landed. I'm sitting here right now in a corner office, with a view straight ahead of a bay with icebergs and mountains. I've got some good pictures - I know I keep saying that, and I will post them soon. Unfortunately, my computer setup doesn't make it convenient at the moment, so just one more day. That's a promise.

This place reeks of Canada. As this is the only British base with an actual runway, all the pilots are based out of here, and the airplane mechanics, and everyone else. And where do you get mechanics and pilots familiar with snowplanes? Calgary. There's bottles of Petro-Canada snowmobile oil around, mukluks from Mark's Work Warehouse...yeah, a lot of familiar stuff around here.

Anyway, now I must run to my climbing training. We may have done it in Derbyshire, but now we have to do it again on ice, wearing full gear. Shouldn't be a problem, but we'll see. And I may or may not be camping tonight off base, depending on the weather.

I'll be here at least a week, by the way. Planes aren't available to take me to Halley yet. And now, I must go get my ropes.

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