As a member of the 2017 wintering team of the Halley station I was completely shocked by the news that the British Antarctic Survey BAS has decided not to winter at Halley VI Research Station for safety reasons. Being at the Brunt ice-shelf at the moment I have a view on the personal, scientific, prestige and financial loss that this decision means, and I can feel the same disappointment that the rest of our team of 16 does. So when I say ‘This is still the Antarctica.‘ it is not a sarcastic comment on a terrible news, rather a token of my appreciation to the power of this place.
The comfort can be very deceiving. The combination of experience, infrastructure and logistics that BAS possess is able to make our life easy at the Antarctica and a warm, fluffy sheep-skin can easily hide the real power of this place. Fortunately, there are people at BAS who follow every movements of the Brunt ice-shelf , and people who are able to make tough decisions. So instead of turning my disappointment into anger and punching the ice of Antarctica as hard as I can, I rather turn it into fascination for this place and gratefulness that I can be here.
Whether I can winter at another Antarctic station or I will spend the southern winter in Cambridge and return for the next summer season is now uncertain, but drifting with the stream is an essential part of the Antarctic experience, so I keep drifting and excitedly wait to see what comes after the next corner.
Take care and don’t stress.
[BAS press release]