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  Lizzie's diaries from Antarctica
Updated 08 December 2003, 09.54
Lizzie strapped up in Antarctica
Find out what Lizzie got up to in the first week of her Antarctica trip

Day 7: Saturday 6th December 2003

Today there's not a cloud in the sky and it's even warm enough to sit outside (in a puffa jacket of course!)

The thing that really gets me about this place is how the scenery changes everyday.

Lizzie strapped up in Antarctica
At first I thought I was going mad. I'd step outside in the morning and think "I'm sure that big mountain of ice wasn't there yesterday"

It's because the sea ice is always moving. The icebergs blow about in the wind - slowly thankfully!

The other thing that I'm slowly getting used to is the pace of life.

The people here don't get stressed about silly things. They are 'chilled' mentally as well as physically!

It's a big day in the summer calendar here at Rothera. The British Antarctic Survey's main ship comes in later today. It's called the James Clark Ross, after a famous Antarctic explorer.

Everyone's really excited because as well as being fitted out with lots of scientific equipment, it also carries the station's main supplies for the next 6 months.

There'll be loads of chocolate, fresh fruit, medicine, toilet roll, paper and pens - everything needed to keep the base running smoothly.

In the photo at the top of this page I'm roped-up ready to interview a glaciologist for our Newsround Extra on Global Warming.

At the time I thought all that roping-up business was just a lot of fuss. But it turned out, where we'd been standing and stamping about to keep warm, it was actually really dangerous and we could have disappeared through the ice at any time!

Day 5: Thursday 4th December 2003

I woke-up to another beautiful sunny day here in the Antarctic.

I'm told it's a bit colder today, 5 degrees, but it's not very windy so it feels warmer.

Lizzie climbing in Antarctica
Those of us who are new to base have to do a special training course before we're allowed to go off base to other stations or even to go snowboarding over the hill next door.

It's pretty in depth and already I know how to inject someone with a painkilling drug, how to light and use an ancient paraffin lamp and how to put up a gigantic pyramid tent.

Tonight we might have to put some of our new skills into practice. We're staying the night off base in a tent about a mile from the station buildings!

We're supposed to cook our dinner in the tent as well but we must have looked hungry so they let us have a proper dinner before setting off into the cold with our sleeping bags and tents.

Today's picture was taken during training with ice axes - long, sharp things climbers use to make holes in the snow.

I was going to tell you about abseiling but so far we've only done it inside. We're going to do it outside tomorrow and that's when we have to descend an icy crevasse - a big crack in a glacier.

Hopefully I'll have a picture with me looking ridiculous for you then!

Day 4: Wednesday 3rd December 2003

After waking-up in the Antarctic for the first time today I can understand why everybody who comes here falls in love with the place. It is absolutely beautiful.

We're staying at The British Antarctic Survey's Rothera Research Station.

It's on the northerly peninsula of the Antarctic and it's built on rock.

There are about 10 buildings ranging from sleeping quarters and garages to the main block which has the dining hall, doctor's surgery and science labs.

Rothera is surrounded by sea so there are icebergs everywhere.

It's about minus 2 degrees today which for me is very cold, but the regulars here are often seen walking around in t-shirts!

My room is lovely and at the moment I'm not sharing with anyone which meant I chose the best bed - I'm on the top bunk!

Today we've been having our base training. It's so we know where everything is and how it all works.

I learnt to ride a skidoo - like a motorbike with skis on - which was hilarious and this afternoon we're being shown how to cook on stoves and put-up tents.

Tomorrow we learn to abseil... so another good photo opportunity.

Day 3: Tuesday 2nd December 2003

We planned to go to Rothera that morning. Rothera is the British Antarctic Survey base where we'd be staying for the next two weeks.

But because Antarctica is the windiest place on earth, sometimes you can't fly there when you want to.

We had a nervous wait over breakfast to find out if we'd be leaving that day at all.

Some people can get stuck in Stanley for weeks while the pilots wait for good weather.

We were given the all clear at 0930 and took off at 1030 on a little red plane called a Dash-7.

But even when we were in the air, there was still a chance we wouldn't be able to fly the whole way.

I listened in to the pilots' weather report from a Chilean Antarctic base called Marsh. That was our alternative landing site if we couldn't go all the way to Rothera.

It seemed the weather at Marsh wasn't good so the pilots decided we'd fly half way to Rothera ( three hours) and then if the weather was bad there - we'd turn around and fly back to The Falklands.

Luckily for us - the weather was good and we carried on all the way to Rothera - in The Antarctic!

Day 2: Monday 1st December 2003

Lizzie in Antarctica
After eight hours flying we stopped off at Ascension Island to refuel. It's a really small Island in the south section of the Atlantic Ocean.

I was allowed to sit in the cockpit for the landing which was amazing. When we descended through the fluffy white clouds it looked like we were sinking into heaven.

After an hour sweating at Ascension - it's really hot and I was dressed for winter - we had another eight hour flight to The Falkland Islands.

The Falklands are owned by the British. They're basically between South America and Antarctica which is why they're a good base for Antarctic trips.

We decided to film a story there, about some schoolchildren who are trying to stop pollution ruining the beaches and killing wildlife.

So when we arrived, although we felt really tired and smelly we rushed off to interview the kids and to film some shots with me in the countryside with penguins nearby.

2,000 people live on the islands and there are two main schools. We stayed in a hotel called The Upland Goose in the capital, Stanley.

Day 1: Sunday 30th November 2003

The first part of my journey to the Antarctic was from the RAF base in Brize Norton, near Oxford.

It was a night flight and we were scheduled to take-off at 11pm, so I had a big roast dinner and plenty of apple crumble before I left to get my strength up for the long journey.

Little did I know the RAF like to feed their passengers and we were given meals about every two hours throughout the flight!

The Newsround team was just myself and my producer, Paul. While we waited for our flight we were put in the VIP lounge - apparently it's where the Queen sits too!

By then I was getting really excited. This trip had taken us nearly a year of planning and now we were finally on our way.

Paul and I needed to film my first piece to camera for the Newsround story about getting to the Antarctic.

As we were doing it the camera light fell off the camera and smashed all over the runway.

Luckily the RAF press lady put back together again for us and by some miracle it still worked!

The flight was pretty much like a normal flight, the only difference was that the stewards were all RAF personnel so it was really funny to see a big, burly RAF serviceman pointing out the emergency exits!

We even had films to watch - I saw a Jim Carrey film on the way out , and am looking forward to seeing Agent Cody Banks on the way back!

More InfoBORDER=0
WorldAll Lizzie's Antarctica diaries
PicturesPix: Antarctic ice shelf
QuizQuiz: snow and ice
Club'I helped clean up Antarctica'


Past StoriesBORDER=0
Experts worry about Antarctic ice melting
Huge Antarctic ice shelf collapses
Antarctic penguins dying of mystery disease



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