One of the unexpected bonuses of the change in plans for the journey back home was that we got an opportunity to visit Rothera. I’ve seen more wildlife there than I have throughout the last 15 months! Keep reading for more information and some pictures!
Rothera Research Station
My first reaction after coming to Rothera was that the two BAS Research stations couldn’t be much more different from each other.
The very first thing that’s apparent in Rothera is the scenery. The base is beautifully located in between the sea and the mountains, with ice bergs all around. The base is situated on a small peninsula on the east coast of the Adelaide Island. At the time we were there, there was quite a large area of actual solid ground we were walking on and I realised this was the first time in 15 months that I had been walking outdoors on something different than snow or ice!
The second thing that I noticed, pretty much immediately after the first, was the abundance of wildlife. There were Elephant Seals pretty much around the base buildings and on the beaches around it, Fur Seals, Weddel Seals, Adelie Penguins, Albatrosses, Skuas, Sea Gulls and all sorts of other birds everywhere!
The station itself is also very different than Halley. As you might remember, Halley consists of the main platform (the modules), where we all live, play and do most of our work (the exceptions are the Vehicle Mechanic working in the Garage and the Field Guide who works in the Workshop). Rothera is a number of buildings, each performing a function or two. There’s the New Bransfield which houses the Dining Room, the Bar, the Library, the Post Office and Shop, a phone booth, etc. There’s the Giants, which houses the Summer Accommodation (in a way this is similar to the Drewry building at Halley), the Admiral’s House which is where the Winterers’ bedrooms are, the Bonner Laboratory, the Boat Shed, the Hangar for the aircraft, and a number of smaller sheds (e.g. generator shed, etc).
Finally you see the sea and the ice bergs, which I mentioned earlier. It was absolutely amazing to smell the sea again for the first time in so many months. And the ice bergs, which I’m sure are a nuisance to the people who live and work there, were absolutely fantastic to look at!
We spent a day and a half there before we joined the James Clark Ross and set sail into a stormy night on the way to Punta Arenas in Chile and the Real World. I must admit I wish I could stay in Rothera for longer – I think it’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth that I have seen so far!