Mel Thunderbolt | Week 3 Antarctica – Adapting
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Week 3 Antarctica – Adapting

It’s amazing how us living beings adapt to any new surroundings.
We watch, we learn, we adapt and improve.


To think when we arrived at our second camping spot, there was nothing here, just blue ice and now it’s become our little functioning home/camp. From a mess tent, to a workshop, a comms tent plus our personal sleeping tents.


I myself have adapted and learnt as I’ve been here.


I have learnt to put large brick shaped ice/snow blocks (like an igloo) around my sleeping tent for more shelter from the strong winds;

I’ve learnt to heat my bed socks on my hot water bottle inside my sleeping bag ten minutes before getting in and to cocoon myself once inside with only my nostrils exposed outside my sleeping bag for fresh air;

I’ve learnt to keep my phone and wet wipes in my pocket in my sleeping bag to keep warm with body heat to avoid them freezing overnight;

I’ve learnt how to put all liquids in boiling water to melt – shampoo, dishwashing liquid etc.;

My “showering” by pouring a bucket over my head while standing in a bucket is improving – I now wash my socks and clothes in the water afterwards and freeze dry them on a line for a day or two.


So, I am adapting well to life here.


Everyone here has a dedicated role – besides all helping with running of the camp.
John from NZ is the Paramedic, Ryan is radio comms; Jason from Canada is the snow groomer.
I am the cook and responsible for the food rations.


The most important part of my job is ensuring we have enough water – which we get from shovelling and then melting heaps and heaps of snow.


At the first campsite, there was a frozen lake and myself and Ant had to walk over rocks and across the frozen lake to the middle where we drilled a hole and then used a diaphragm pump to pump water into a 25-litre container and carry it back across all the rocks to boil. We had to do this at least six times per day and I was nervous walking across the frozen lake.

Now here at our second camp, we either melt snow in a snow melter or fill a pot with snow and melt it which only makes a little water at a time.


We have a lot of Dehydrated foods, as well as pastas, rice etc. and I have to be strict (with my wooden spoon ha-ha) with the guys and let everyone eat before they head for seconds.


Every day I wake up, get water on the boil for coffee, have my Oats, then I go shovel snow for water, after that I go shovel some more and dig out my food containers and get out what to cook and bury the boxes again, other standard chores are emptying grey water containers, the toilet buckets and continuous stock taking and rationing.


Life is simple here. Life is good here.

Keep warm, keep healthy, eat for stamina and try get some sleep – I am dealing with sleep deprivation but other than that all is well here on the ice. I do not have any idea what is happening in the outside world.

I am only living in the here and now.


Mel Thunderbolt