...and his girl left behind. Justin Chambers is going to Antarctica as a chef, and leaving behind all that is normal, for a whole year. Together, but apart, we will document our experiences (well, he'll give me the info verbally and I will turn that in to a blog post!!) as we live in two quite different worlds for those 12 months.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Four days to go

Tuesday 21st December..... 

With the menu finalized for Christmas it’s now time for the gathering of ingredients, writing of comprehensive prep lists with time lines, ascertaining the whereabouts of display racks etc... and generally pulling the finger out and getting stuck into all that will be Christmas.

First of all I grab the ute and head off to the green store and proceed to accumulate a stack of boxes containing frozen meats and seafood....... from there I head off to the refers (refrigerated containers) located just down the slope from the LQ and right next to the smokers hut.  Filled with citrus, apples and melons in one and potatoes, carrots onions etc in another, I gather half a dozen new boxes to add to the already ladened 4x4 and with tunes blaring (music pumped out around the station via fm from a tune heavy computer located in the wallow) I set off back to the kitchen.

View from kitchen
Its 9am and the temperature is already 2 degrees above 0. Summer is slowly taking hold in the hills around my new home.  Looking out to the encroaching ocean all I can see is white........... not the white I was met with on arrival aboard the Aurora Australis, but more mid tones. Lots of brownie-creams created from the dust that now competes successfully for space previously occupied by snow and ice.  Also, shades of gray are beginning to erode the once pristine field of frozen water... not only in ever widening cracks but also in growing pools of slushy mush that are now giving the landscape a pattern referred to in military circles as arctic camouflage. Mottled greys, large splotches of white and darker shadows cast from a low sun looking upon an uneven surface, all paint a picture of a rapidly decaying bay of crystallised water.  Only a few titans of ice hold this now fragile formation in suspension. I keep looking out at the horizon.... now bored with the same old vista... a good part of me is wanting the dispersion of the same ole, same ole. But hey, soon enough I know I'll be wishing for the blues of our ocean to be sucked of colour so I can feel more Antarctic and clean again.  Life outside of Davis changes fast... but it’s sometimes too subtle to appreciate on a daily basis.

Chinese delegation

Getting a visit by a Chinese delegation comprising of the director of the Chinese Antarctic programme,  deputies,  both the ingoing and outgoing station leaders and some other top officials help keep the monotony on the inside of Davis from ever leaving the start line.  I play this day very much like the day before......though I leave the beer tasting alone out of respect for the positions held by our Asian tourists.  I snapped again some photos of their transport, this time it’s a Chinese made, French designed "dauphin". The tail rotors encircled by a fibreglass casing ensure the noise levels are kept right down.... as these puppies spin close to the speed of sound, only a high pitch whistly whine can be heard... very cool to observe. I just couldn't resist a traveller's shot in front of the helicopter just moments before its departure.

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