Stars over Rothera

Day #261 in Antarctica ·

Last Thursday saw a rare evening of calm, crisp conditions; a stark contrast from the recent weeks of frequent gales and depressions that have been norm.

We took this opportunity to spend the evening up at the Cross1, gathered round an impromptu fire pit, created from an old fuel drum.2 Despite the -15ºC temperatures, it was a pleasant evening sitting under the stars, sharing a wee dram whiskey in the company of good friends.

Poi flickr
Fire Bucket 4000 flickr
Dan & Malcy flickr

Four of us elected to bivouac out overnight . This gave me the opportunity to finally take a timelapse of the night sky – the weather having foiled a couple of earlier attempts.

As I’ve discovered, timelapses are definitely a labour of love, especially as cameras are temperamental beasts in the cold. Batteries typically need changing every two hours, and one keeps spares warm by storing them in one’s sleeping bag.

Contrary to general opinion, bivouacking is a pretty comfortable experience, especially given BAS’ sleeping system: rollmat, Thermarest, sheepskin, bivi bag, and down sleeping bag. The hardest part is convincing yourself to get out of it into the cold morning air when the sun comes up.

Plus, on a clear night, it’s hard not to feel slightly in awe as you gaze up into the myriad of stars shining their cold light down upon you.

Frosty Dawn flickr
Camera & Bivi flickr
  1. A traditional spot to congregate, Rothera’s memorial is on a rocky outcrop with panoramic views over Ryder Bay. 

  2. Proudly branded as the Fire Bucket 4000 by it’s builders (our vehicle mech and one of the field assistant’s).