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Spirits are high at Scott Base

19 August 2016

Mother Nature delays seeing the first sunrise, however spirits are high at Scott Base

The first sunrise over Scott Base will be an applauded spectacle following four months of total darkness for Antarctica New Zealand’s winter-over team.

For the past few days, Kiwi filmmaker and support staffer Anthony Powell has captured some stunning photographs of the polar stratospheric nacreous clouds, which became visible at noon this week just below the horizon.

But Mother Nature is flexing her muscles, with a forecast of blowing snow and white-out conditions meaning the Scott Base team of 11 won’t see the sunrise for another few days.

Winter Chef, Keith Garrett says, “If the sun doesn’t manage to peek over the horizon, the beginning of summer will still be celebrated with a grand feast this evening.

“If the rising sun cannot bring a smile to our faces today, the food certainly will,” says Mr Garrett.

A flight is scheduled for tomorrow starting the annual winter flight programme, known as Winfly. The Winfly schedule includes three Airbus and two C17 flights over the next week. In total, 200 personnel will be heading south, eight of which will be Antarctica New Zealand support staff. For the first time this year, flights south were scheduled during April, June and July which removed the winter-over isolation, carrying freight and ‘freshies’.

Antarctica New Zealand Logistics Manager, Paul Woodgate, a 35-year veteran of the New Zealand Antarctic programme says, “The usual gear is heading south to get the season up and running, including a lot of stuff to support the Hillary Field Centre construction project. The flight will bring spare parts to finish off the winter works programme, and of course the team are keen to get their ‘freshies’ and mail.”

Official Season Opening events, which include a civic reception, a public opportunity to visit Antarctic aircraft, a wreath-laying ceremony hosted by the Antarctic Society, and a Church Service happen in Christchurch, New Zealand’s gateway to Antarctica, the weekend of 30 September.

“The 2016-17 Antarctic research season is particularly important to New Zealand as it signifies 60-years since the construction of Sir Edmond Hillary’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition Hut, the original Scott Base. This also highlights the beginning of New Zealand’s presence and leadership on ice,” says Peter Beggs, Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive.

Main-body flights for support staff and scientists forming the 2016-17 Antarctic research season begin from 3 October 2016.


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