On Antarctica, Breaking Legs

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Getting Going
Saying Goodbye
Sailing South
  Off Base
Summer 07
Winter 07


So, well, I've arrived now. I'm here, at Halley, the real Antarctica. It's certainly incredible, the ice shelf is immense its bounds escaping beyond my earlier imagination. The base is little against the vast sky, but strong, stubbornly clinging to the lightly rippling surface like a spider crouched on a ceiling. From outside the place looks small, but it expands as you enter opening out into lounges, plantrooms, kitchens, offices and bunkrooms. Perhaps it's the contrast with the confines of the ship, or the deflated stories back in Cambridge, but even with the full summer compliment it doesn't feel at all crowded. I suppose that will change once we have the place to ourselves, then have to return it to the hordes after the winter.

The final leg of the journey here was a ride in the back of a Sno-Cat, or on the sledge it was pulling, for six hours. As it wasn't too cold I chose the sledge as it doesn't bump around so much, and let me stretch out and get a nap.

The first day was filled with tours and unpacking. I'm now reunited with my box of toys, but most of those are staying away until after the summer. I also met the letters that beat me here, many thanks to people who wrote, replies are on their way, but might not reach you for a while...

The wind got up a bit on New Year's eve, so I had the kite out for a first zip about on the ice. Even my smaller sail generates a good pull if worked hard enough, and the blades I'm using are short enough that my feet don't have to think too much about where they are and what they're doing. In time I'll get the big kite out, which will be interesting. In the evening we celebrated, listening to the chimes of Big Ben at nine, injecting energy with the first public performance of a samba band at Halley, then singing and drinking in the New Year once it caught up with us.

Then, on New Year's day, we had the traditional game of football. Somewhere in the chaos I trapped my foot in a hole in the snow and fell backwards into a blaze of pain. My ankle a burning brand, smouldering with a dull ache as I lay on the ground and flaring up brightly when I tried to stand. I was whisked away to the Surgery by the Doc on her Skidoo (no blue flashing light, but sound effects were provided). Initially we thought it was just a sprain, but x-rays discovered a break in the thinner of the two bones in the lower leg, just where it meets the ankle. Thankfully the fracture is stable, and will heal after a few weeks in plaster. While this is inconvenient for the moment, especially as I can't fit any trousers on, I'm still able to get on with my job here, and will be fit again well before the winter.

Me in my office
Me in my office

Heading for a lift
Heading for a lift

On the way home
On the way home

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 ^Back to Top^ | © Alex Gough 2006-01-06 | RSS 0.91 | RSS 2.0 ...in which Alex breaks his leg, then gets better.