Antarctica – The Extended Remix

A year in Antarctica… plus a bit more… and another bit

As the Aurora Australis draws closer to its 14 February arrival at Davis, collecting 49 expeditioners returning to Australia, my own version of “Antarctica — The Extended Remix” is almost over. 

Time does fly. It doesn’t seem that long ago I finished 2.5 months of pre-departure training and stepped onto Voyage 1 for my 1-year Summer/Winter deployment to Davis.

Over winter only 19 of us spent 8 months in relative isolation (and comfort) at Davis, which is an experience I can’t recommend enough… you have to live through it to really understand it.

After living the glamorous life of an Antarctic Mechanic over winter, I was lucky enough to be offered a chance to work a second summer as an Aviation Ground Support Officer (AGSO… because we love our acronyms).

As new summer expeditioners arrived it was great to see a few familiar faces returning back down to the continent which — for us pale, wintering folk — made the transition back to a busy station somewhat easier.

Now it’s time for things to get a bit real. In just two short weeks I will be eagerly boarding the ship back to Australia to enjoy some warmer weather and a maybe even a well-earned holiday.

The first few days back in the “real world” are bound to be a bit overwhelming, with all the sights, lights, bells and whistles that have been absent from daily life for a year-and-a-half. The sight of rain clouds on the horizon and the smell of freshly mown grass will be most welcome, I know that much.

My first days on return from Antarctica will be spent eating as much fresh fruit as humanly possible and trying to remember that you need to take your phone, keys and wallet when going out… I actually will need to pay for stuff. And will probably not require gloves, an ice axe and a pee bottle… unless I’m planning on getting arrested.

This will be a brief respite as I press my reset button in preparation for joining Voyage 4, supporting aviation operations at the Macquarie Island resupply. A new adventure entirely!

Knowing the nerves, anticipation and excitement well, for those about to enter the next Davis winter, I wish you a safe season ahead with all the happiness and positive memories that you can handle. See you next time!

Steve McInnerney