Hi from Antarctica

Submitted: Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 16:59
ThreadID: 139896 Views:7780 Replies:6 FollowUps:11
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Hello all back at home in Australia,
Well I understand through talking with my family and friends that you are all going through a tough time back there, just thought I would let you know that we are thinking of everyone back there and hope you can all pull together to get through this event,
I have been in a different type of isolation for the last 5 months and still have at least another 8 months and possibly up to 11 more months to go,
Like you I spend my time looking over my many years of outback travel and planning future trips for when I return eventually.
I have plenty of time on my hands so if you have any Antarctic questions let me know and I will do my best to answer them
Regards Grant M
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Reply By: equinox - Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 17:36

Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 17:36
Hi Grant

Welcome back to the mother country.

I have a question please.

What is the best process to enable me and my friends to visit the continent? How can we touch the ground with our feet; walk across to the mountain - admire the scenery on the ground.


Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.
"Outback Yonder"

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Follow Up By: My Aussie Travel Guide - Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 19:42

Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 19:42
Hey Al, we went a few years ago - we can highly recommend an expedition style boat so the numbers are much lower. There are strict rules for how many people can go ashore at one time so the less on your boat the better. That means you maximise shore visits rather than having to wait your turn. We travelled on a boat with Quark Expeditions that held 113 but only had 69 on that trip. Also research the time of year to visit. November is the start of the season and finishes I think around March. Each month has something different happening re wildlife, ie nesting, hatching, etc. We left from Buenos Aires and went for 3 weeks...down to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, then to the continent. Finished back in Ushuaia. All cruises do different things and of varying durations, so more research to do here. Each day we had lectures to prepare us for the day plus a recap at the end of the day with lots of specialists and historians on board. We kayaked everywhere we went when not walking - absolutely incredible! You get super close to wildlife (penguins, seals, elephant seals, birds + heaps more). We love Shackleton so did a hike following his footsteps, visited his grave too. Plus visited old whaling stations, glaciers, too much to mention! Best trip ever is all I can summarise it as. Oh, google St. Andrews Bay South Georgia for a taste of what we saw. The beauty of absolutely thousands of king penguins turned me a blubbering mess. It was the most beautiful sight I’ve ever experienced. Happy to answer any other questions.
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Follow Up By: Glenn M8 - Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 20:17

Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 20:17
Hi My Aussie Travel Guide
I am just checking about your trip. We did one at the end of 2012 and the numbers you described on your boat and being a Quark expedition sounded very similar to the one we did. By some chance did your trip leave Ushuaia around 10 December 2012?
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Follow Up By: My Aussie Travel Guide - Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 20:37

Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 20:37
Sorry, not us. Ours was a bit later in 2013 when we left on November 1st out of Buenos Aires. It sounds like you may have done our trip in reverse maybe. Hope you loved it as much as us :)

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Reply By: Grant M17 - Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 18:37

Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 18:37
That’s a great question equinox, and it’s also the exact reason I’m living/working down here,
To set foot is possible maybe only for a few hrs , there are only a few operators in the world that give you the opportunity to sleep the night in a tent on the continent and none that I have ever heard of that would let you walk/hike ,
Argentina gives the closest access to Antarctica and do offer some very close experiences, but to do what you say you would like is very very expensive through a small cruise operator and still no guarantee as this environment down here is not always friendly.
I wanted to do same as you and gave up trying so applied for a job as a carpenter and got in.
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 18:59

Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 18:59
Hey Grant,
Just wondering what your actual daily carpentry activities consist of down there?......being a carpenter myself I have a couple of times toyed with the idea of applying for a job in Antartica, but having young kids at the time I didn’t end up going any further with the idea. The idea of working down there still intrigues me, would you recommend doing it to others...if yes or no then curious as to why you say that
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Follow Up By: OBJ - Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 19:39

Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 19:39
Wife and I have just returned from Antarctica. We left South America to return to Australia on Feb 25, and just missed the first reported case of Corona. I believe we really dodged a bullet.

We flew to South America and joined an APT Tour in Rio. We departed for the Antarctic Peninsular from Ushuaia aboard Le Boreal and headed across the Drake Passage and on to the Peninsular.

Being a smaller ship, it was able to reach places the larger cruise ships cannot reach. We were able to go ashore and observed the penguins and seals. Aboard the tenders we were close to whales who were feeding down there. No real shows, but a lot of tail slapping, which we enjoyed.

The wildlife was good. Stepping ashore I was bowled over by the stench of predominately penguin poo. Nothing grows there, so nothing absorbs it. But we were ashore, and that was good. There were opportunities for fitter people to trek up a few hillsides, but a bit beyond my capabilities.

My only disappointment was I was unable to get close to a hut where people worked, but no big deal.

Interesting place. Quite worth the effort of getting there. But it also cemented in my own mind that, having both driven through and cruised past, the Kimberley is the most magnificent place on the planet. Antarctica is the driest place on earth. And whilst they get 12-14 hours of daylight in the summer, that it NOT sunlight. Towards the end of our cruise we were craving some sunshine.

We are glad we went to see it. We have no reason to want to go back.
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Follow Up By: Grant M17 - Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 20:33

Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 20:33
Rum pig
Yes I highly recommend it as a carpenter and an adventurer,
You can apply as a summerer or a winterer, summerers usually come down for around 4 months and most are returnees as once you come your hooked and this suits a lot of people.
If you apply for winter that means your coming for the summer with everyone else then they leave end of February early March leaving behind just the winter crew to be completely isolated from the rest of the world for 9 months with virtually no way out should something go wrong, numbers go from 94 to 24,
24 hrs daylight during summer and 24 hrs darkness during winter
At the moment it’s 9 hrs of daylight here at Davis station.
In saying all that it is not easy to get in, thousands of people apply each year for only limited positions,
The work is varied as you need to be adaptable and willing to do anything,
Last week I was hanging plaster sheets and building walls in a new building, week before I was out doing seal surveys and sea ice drilling, a few weeks before I was being flown around by hellideck getting dropped off 140klm away from station to do some deep field work, I also was chosen to be trained in Royal Hobart hospital as a lay surgical assistant as we have 1 Dr and if he needs help I am his surgical scrub nurse, also trained as a fire fighter and search and rescue,
All up it was almost 4 months training then 2 weeks on ship sailing south before I set foot,
Do I recommend it,
Yes yes yes yes
It works for me
My kids are 21 and 24
My wife is used to me travelling outback for months on end by myself
Hope this helps
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 20:48

Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 20:48
Cheers for the insight Grant, nice to get a read on the job from someone that’s there doing it. My youngest is only just started high school so I don’t reckon I would seriously look at doing it for a few more years yet, but it still sounds like a great gig to me and maybe in a few years time who knows.
FollowupID: 906849

Reply By: Gronk - Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 19:14

Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 19:14
Grant, I have always wondered how you keep beer cold....obviously in a fridge to keep it from freezing, but are they a normal fridge.?
AnswerID: 631016

Follow Up By: Grant M17 - Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 20:52

Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 20:52
Yes we have normal commercial fridges like you will find at and milk bar, as the buildings are all heated inside is life as normal kind of, it’s just outside that’s very different
FollowupID: 906850

Reply By: RobynR4 - Sunday, Apr 12, 2020 at 20:06

Sunday, Apr 12, 2020 at 20:06
Dr Jeri Nielsen’s autobiography of her months in Antarctica is up there in my favourites.
Not sure how many times ad it now... :)
It must be rather surreal for you, not just with normal isolation but with the world’s current dramas...
AnswerID: 631041

Follow Up By: Grant M17 - Sunday, Apr 12, 2020 at 22:12

Sunday, Apr 12, 2020 at 22:12
Hi Robyn
I will have a look in our very well stocked library, sounds like a good read so thanks for the tip.
Yes it is a very strange feeling being here at the moment, it is a bit like watching a terrible movie, I find it almost impossible to believe what I’m hearing,
FollowupID: 906939

Reply By: Kilcowera Station Stay - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2020 at 08:56

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2020 at 08:56
Hi Grant! Aren't you a nice person to do this! So interesting! Your comment re " looking at the world like it's a terrible movie". I live on a cattle station 1100 kms west of Brisbane, it's about the same distance from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide too. It's very much the same here - it is like a doomsday movie whats happening. My little local town of Thargomindah is taking the whole social distancing thing very seriously, but life is still going on there much as usual. The general store has plenty of groceries and fruit and veg. No shortages to speak of. Oh there is no hand sanitizer. The people there who travel away from town for freight, mail and work are being very conscious of sanitisation as they are the ones who could bring the virus to the district. At my place we also run a tourist business and did have a lot of bookings for this year but now everyone has cancelled so we have no business this year. We also destocked pretty much entirely in February last year due to the drought so have no income at all this year until our visitors can start coming again. But here at Kilcowera and on the other stations around life is very normal. Looking at the TV news and listening to the radio is very interesting and it's amazing how quickly the world is changing in response to the virus. There was a report on the news about an illegal dinner party in Tasmania yesterday! It's extraordinary how people are taking the new laws and doing what they are told. It seems to becoming a police state - stay home, a gathering of only 2 people, no dinner parties, don't sit on the beach or in the park, only essential travel, restrictions on how much of anything you can buy. And now they are talking about an app the government is going to ask people to put on their phone so they can be tracked 24 hours a day. Unreal! Crikey, I am very glad I live where I live at the moment. We live in interesting times! I would love to visit Antarctica. We were going to Africa this year. Ha,ha. Stay home. All the best to you, Toni.
AnswerID: 631086

Reply By: Grant M17 - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2020 at 10:27

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2020 at 10:27
Hi Toni
Yes very strange times, I know thargo as I travel through on occasions when doing my outback trips, beautiful country,
Stay safe out there,
Thinking of everyone in Aus
AnswerID: 631090

Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2020 at 13:20

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2020 at 13:20
Hi Grant,

Who's the Bureaus weather station equipment maintenance tech at the moment?

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Follow Up By: Grant M17 - Friday, Apr 17, 2020 at 16:08

Friday, Apr 17, 2020 at 16:08
The BOM tech here at the moment is pat James, really great guy and brilliant photographer
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