Time to leave the country

Deploy in 1 day ·

After six months of medical training and a couple of weeks general Antarctic training, I’ll finally leave the country tomorrow. Initially flying to the Falklands via Ascension Island, I’ll get to Mount Pleasant on Monday, and then weather-permitting, flying on to Antarctica on Tuesday – a five hour flight on a Dash-7.

Over the last few days I’ve learnt that packing is definitely an iterative process, having packed and re-packed at least five times. The Dash-7 has a strict weight limit of 31kg for ‘hold’ and hand luggage combined, which leads to some interesting compromises between what to leave and take – an early casualty of this process was my hard copy of the BNF!

Despite only having a short planned layover in the Falklands, I’m hoping to meet up with Julie, my friend and colleague who’s been the ships doctor on the James Clarke Ross. As she’s been at sea for the past two months, having sailed from Immingham in mid-September, I’m looking forward to catching up on her tales of the voyage south and also scoring a tour round the icebreaker. The next time I’ll see it will otherwise be when it makes first call at Rothera in late December.

The next 48hrs are going to be an interesting time, saying goodbye to family and friends, not to mention a long flight south, but I’m relishing the experiences to come.