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April - Fool!

Rothera Diary - April 2004

By Adam Thornhill

It is amazing how fast a month can go! Especially down here in the Antarctic. April was meant to have been the first full month of winter this year. With April seeing the Dash 7 leaving in 2003, we saw the unscheduled return of RRS Ernest Shackleton, with some special Cargo.

To read about why the "Shack" returned - click here

Shack at night - Click to enlarge.

Above: Shack at night - Click to enlarge.

So, as of 2003, we have had to wait until May for the first full month of winter! April is known for its Showers in the UK. Well, we have certainly had our fair share of rain this month! Yes, rain in the Antarctic, in April!!  With the winter trips now in full swing, lots of activities to occupy people’s time and plenty of birthday celebrations approaching, there was only one true way to welcome April! April fools.....

During the end of March, one of our esteemed Marine Biologists, Hamish Campbell was very popular with the radio stations back in UK, since a press release about his work on Antarctic Cod over the past months. This obviously stirred interest around the Base, and with April the 1st approaching, it was too good an opportunity to miss! Thanks to the help of a certain Cambridge member of Staff, the fax was sent, and an interview was arranged for Hamish to phone “Black Country Fm”, with Jools the DJ and Tim the producer. Steve, the BC told Hamish that we were expecting a call from a member of the BAS management on the main phone system, so I (Adam) took him upstairs in the Tower and called downstairs. Unfortunately it was engaged, as one of the BAS senior management had indeed called, unknown to Tim, who answered the phone as “Black Country Fm, Hello”. Not a good start.

On around the 10th attempt at getting through, we finally made it; Hamish was talking to DJ Tim Adams at Black Country Fm. With everyone listening in outside the Office, and over Stentofon (Our internal communications system), Jools faded out the music and began his interview with the DJ twang...”So, Hamish Campbell in Antarctica, what’s it like, being in Antarctica?” With the majority of us only just managing not to laugh, Hamish to his credit, was a true professional. He was quick in answering the well rehearsed questions about base and the people around him. With the questions becoming slightly personal, Hamish still did not twig, and continued to answer very professionally, managing to keep all his friends on base happy. There was no sign of Hamish catching on, so while the going was good, DJ Tim Adams, wound down the interview, thanked Hamish very much and fading up the music!

We all rushed to the Dining room, and tried to act oblivious to all that had happened! Hamish entered to a round of applause from the crowd. He smiled and sat down to some Lunch. Still no sign of recognition from the star. “So Hamish in Antarctica, what’s it like living in Antarctica” came from Jools, in that ever present DJ twang. Slow realisation spread across Hamish’s face, before announcing, ”It was all a wind up wasn’t it!” April Fools day over for another year.

Doc Campbell - Click to enlarge.

Above: Doc Campbell in one of his more sensible poses - Click to enlarge.


This month.....

Bransfield Open

To read about the first Bransfield Open Golf tournament - click here

Iain - Click to enlarge.

Above: Iain - Click to enlarge.


Dan had his birthday during April.

To read about how he celebrated his birthday - click here.

Dan and Toddy out for a walk - Click to enlarge.

Above: Dan and Toddy out for a walk.


Sledge Golf to Carvajal.

To read about what Adam and Dougal got up to - click here.

Dougal and Adams Campsite - Click to enlarge.

Above: Dougal and Adams Campsite - Click to enlarge.


And finally for this month.....

Some more pictures from around the base.

The first Emperor of the season - Click to enlarge.

Above: The first Emperor of the season - Click to enlarge.

Sledges and Pink sky - Click to enlarge.

Above: Sledges and Pink sky - Click to enlarge.


Next month.....World Class Science in a Balloon Context.

A weather balloon about to be launched - Click to enlarge.

Above: A weather balloon about to be launched - Click to enlarge.


Pages by Andrew Porte

Pictures by winter 2004 team