In a little over 180 days, I will be on a plane bound for Punta Arenas on the southern tip of Chile. From Punta, once the weather is clear, I will continue on to my real destination: Rothera Research Station, Antarctica.
I have been fantastically lucky to be appointed as a doctor for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), and will head South in October for 18 months. As a doctor for Rothera station, I’ll be working with a colleague during the Austral summer1, but during the winter season (with an ominous period of complete darkness), I’ll be the sole medic for the 15-20 fellow staff overwintering on the base. I’m certainly excited by the challenges that this opportunity presents, tempered with a healthy dose of apprehension.
There is a lot to do in the next six months. Coming from a surgical background, there are a lot of areas that I don’t encounter in my day job: dentistry, opthalmology, anaesthetics, psychiatry - to name a few. With October looming, I’ll be looking to improve my competency in these areas, whilst I’m also looking forward to the more unusual elements of the Antarctic training programme including a sea survival course and oil spill management!
Over the next two years, I hope to periodically write here about some of the more interesting and memorable experiences from this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Rose Drew is the current doctor overwintering at Rothera, and is keeping a blog too. ↩