The Antarctica New Zealand Clothing store at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch. Photo: Jay PiggottToday I spent a number of hours with Chris Gilbert, Logistics Officer for Antarctica NZ, being kitted out in my Antarctic clothing. As one might have imagined this entails being fitted into an elaborate collection of extreme weather gear. However, while you might look like Kenny off ‘South Park’
, you don’t want your Antarctic attire to be upstaged by some Emperor Penguin wearing a tux. I have compiled a slideshow illustrating the multi-layered clothing system that I am required to not only take down to Antarctica, but also to wear on the airplane during the 5hour flight there!
Tomorrow, if the weather in Antarctica co-operates, Dr Neil Gilbert (Environmental Manager for Antarctica NZ) and I will depart by C-17 aircraft for Scott Base in Antarctica.
Jay Piggott (Antarctic Youth Ambassador) and Dr Neil Gilbert (Environmental Manager for Antarctica NZ) outside the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch. Photo: Rebecca ElliotThe purpose of our visit, which will be for the duration of 10days, will be to conduct a review of the management plan of the McMurdo Dry Valleys Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA). The Dry Valleys are a unique environment, both in Antarctica and globally. The 15,000 km2 area located in the McMurdo Dry Valleys contains the largest expanse of ice-free ground in Antarctica. This cold desert environment encompasses soils millions of years old, communities of unusual plants and micro-organisms, and special geological features. The Dry Valleys are also renowned for their spectacular scenery.
During our time at Scott Base we will also assist with the Aliens in Antarctica project. This project will assess the extent to which people unintentionally carry propagules (seeds, spores, eggs) of alien (non-native) species into the Antarctic region during the 2007-08 summer.
Watch this space for daily updates from The Ice.
Antarctic Quote of the Day:
"The continent has become a symbol of our time. The test of man's willingness to pull back from the destruction of the Antarctic wilderness is the test also of his willingness to avert destruction globally. If he cannot succeed in Antarctica he has little chance of success elsewhere." - Edwin Mickleburgh