My first voyage to Antarctica involved 10 weeks on board a ship, crossing the equator then on southwards via various little known islands and eventually bashing through ice nall the way to the ice cliffs of mainland Antarctica. This time, I left the UK on Wednesday afternoon and touched down on the Antarctic Peninsula in time for lunch on Friday.
The photo above shows the Dash 7, the British Antarctic Survey's 'passenger jet' that brings people in and out of Rothera Research Station from late October to early March. It lands on wheels on a runway kept clear of snow and can even make it further south to land on blue ice runways. This morning the Dash 7 left Rothera bound for Punta Arenas in southern Chile. Amongst it's 14 or so passengers and crew was Matt Balmer, who's just finished 2 and a half years working as an electronics engineers down here without once leaving. When the plane returns tomorrow morning, it will bring the Dutch crown Prince and Princess, on a weekend trip south as part of their world tour monitoring the effects of global climate change.