Getting ready to go South
As we creep towards the beginning of a new season, the team is busy getting everything in order, packed and sent off to Antarctica ahead of the new Port Lockroy and conservation teams making their way South in a couple of months.
The warehouse period is one of the most frantic times in the annual calendar for the Operations team, as we gather together all the tools, equipment and provisions we need for the season ahead. Old equipment is condition checked and packed, new things are bought, unboxed and repacked. We've shopped for everything from paintbrushes and plywood, vacuum cleaners and dehumidifiers, to a new frying pan and five months-worth of toilet rolls.
Pictured: Vicky Inglis packs the all-important supplies for the upcoming Port Lockroy season.
The field team tents have been pitched and aired out, then vacuumed for biosecurity before being packed. These will be ‘home’ for the conservation team based at Damoy Point this season.
Flat-packed cardboard boxes have been built and filled with goods before being stacked on pallets like a real-life live action game of Tetris. Finally, we log everything into the documentation required for shipping overseas. Because we're shipping things months ahead of when they'll be received, all the goods are tinned or dried, or have a very long shelf life. In previous seasons, these basic supplies have been supplemented with generous gifts of fresh food, especially vegetables, from the ships visiting the team at Port Lockroy.
As the end of our time in the warehouse is in sight, we are reminded that prep for a new season is no mean feat, though made all the more manageable thanks to non-ops team mates willing to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in to help.
Here’s to a memorable and remarkable season.
Vicky Inglis, Field Operations Co-ordinator