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Rothera Diary — October 2009

End of winter, planes, new faces and freshies

All good things come to an end, also the winter of 2009. This happened on the 10th day of this month. One Twin Otter and a Basler airplane arrived at Rothera and this meant that the winter had come to an end. Still a couple of weeks to go before it became very busy. Seeing new faces is kind of strange after seeing the same 21 faces for 7 months.

Winterteam 2009 (scan from negative)
Winterteam 2009 (scan from negative)
Ken Borek Twin Otter just landed at Rothera
Ken Borek Twin Otter just landed at Rothera

We started the month with preparing the base for the summer. The runway had to be cleared and the hangar emptied. Luckily for Jonny and Al, our vehicle mechanics, we didn’t have much snow this winter so clearing the runway didn’t take them long. Although as you can imagine the day the snow-blowers came out of the miracle span, it started snowing. Inside, all the rooms got a spring clean and everything was prepared for the summer. We extended the dining room table and the kitchen got a good scrub out.

The band performed for a last time in the winter and I must admit it was a good gig. Still very strange to perform when there are more people on stage then in the audience.

Solo guitarist admired by singers
Solo guitarist admired by singers
The band in action
The band in action

The best thing about aircraft landing again in Rothera is that they bring fresh vegetables and fruit with them. So as you can imagine, everybody enjoyed the BLT sandwiches for Sunday brunch.

To finish the winter we organized a film festival. Everybody wore their best suits and we had a couple of films between courses. A lot of effort was put into all the films and we had a really good night. The night was also the premiere of ANNE, a feature length horror movie made by Matt Doc and Kirk. Almost everybody of the winter team plays a role in it so everybody was very curious to see the result, and it was good. The same night we voted the winner of the winter photo competition. Andy Webster won with an amazing shot of Shaun, our chippy, sitting at the caboose. The picture will hang on the wall for a year in the lounge with bar, so if you come over to Rothera this summer make sure you have a look.

Winner of the winter photo competition
Winner of the winter photo competition

On day 17 of this month the Dash 7 landed for the first time this season at Rothera. It was really good to see familiar faces again. From then on we knew it was really over. Summer was here in the form of the Base Commander and the aircraft. With all the fruit they carried with them there was a bit of a summer feeling on base. Having an apple or a banana. It is just unbelievable all those different tastes. For me in the kitchen, putting my knives through fresh vegetables after such a long time felt great.

Dash 7 landing for the 1st time at Rothera
Dash 7 landing for the 1st time at Rothera

That first weekend of the summer the weather was really good, so people went to Lagoon Island, to check out the hut. They saw some elephant seal and Weddell seal pups.

Elephant seal and pup
Elephant seal and pup
Weddell seal pup
Weddell seal pup

From then on the Dash 7 started playing the big red flying taxi and bringing more people in. In a couple of weeks we went from 21 people to 60+ people on base. It needs a bit of time for us winterers to get used to that many people on base, but then again it is so good the see old and new faces back at Rothera.

Chilean Airforce doing a fly-by  at Rothera
Chilean Airforce doing a fly-by at Rothera

I really did have a great 2nd winter where lots of nice stuff happened. Living and working here at Rothera is a really good thing to do. It was a pleasure to cook during 7 months for the winter team, even for those fussy eaters who don’t like stews, fish etc… In a couple of weeks I will start working back in the span and I’m really looking forward to work outside again and enjoy the good weather that we get in the summer.

Sun setting for one of the last times for a while
Sun setting for one of the last times for a while

I guess it will be a very busy summer but if the time flies by as it did during the winter, the Ernest Shackleton will be here very soon to pick up all the summer staff and leave the new winterers behind for their unique and great experience.

Riet Van de Velde — Chef winter 2009