Floating ice shelf news

The view from my room is one of unearthly light and movement. The sun is low on the horizon, throwing into relief the many containers, fuel drums and storehouses as blowing snow snakes around them, forever changing and appearing to soften the brittle hard landscape. My window faces west across the ice shelf towards, hidden in the distance, the southernmost portion of the Weddel sea and at even greater distance, the Antarctic Peninsula.

I am one of 13 men overwintering at Halley Bay - I should call it Halley VI as this version of the research station first built here more than fifty years ago has been superseded by others that have, in large part, been crushed by snow accumulation and drifted out to sea. Hopefully, the current version of Halley won't do this while we are here.

As chef, my job is to cook, organise stores and play a full role in the team that is currently wintering here. Wintering? Well, for those of you who know me, you will know that I tend to drop into the Antarctic from time to time to work, record, observe and live. This mostly happens in the Austral summer months - October to March. The winter months lie in between and see the continent almost completely denuded of human life. Only a couple of hundred of us are scattered around the periphery of this enormous continent, destined to live out the months of dark before once again welcoming the returning summer crews who will bring new supplies, people and science - stuff to keep us going and to justify our place here.

Over the next weeks and months, I will blog in order to share my experience and engage with you, if you would like to comment/ask questions about what me and my fellow winterers are doing here. Speak to you soon, Gerard