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  Lizzie's diaries from Antarctica
Updated 08 December 2003, 09.48
Lizzie silhouetted against the sun
Find out what Lizzie got up to in the second week of her trip to The Antarctic


Day 14: Saturday 14 December

I discovered the gym today.

Now you might be wondering what I would want with a gym when I'm in the Antarctic.

The truth is I've been here two weeks and have done nothing more than stomp about in the snow and eat Cyril and Izzy's fantastic food. So it was time I pushed myself a little bit further.

It's a pretty good gym as well, considering we're in the Antarctic. There is even a running machine.

In fact, the whole Station here is very well equipped. I can send emails three times a day. I can phone my Mum when I want to, although it costs an arm and a leg, and I can get thrashed at table tennis by Paul.

So I'm really not missing out on much here. Plus I'm surrounded by the most breath taking scenery.

I am scared of spiders though. I hate them so much that sometimes I dream about them. I did last night. So I have to make a major apology to make to my room mate.

Kath, I'm really sorry I woke you up twice in the night, screaming there was a spider in my bed. I'm sorry that I shocked you as I leapt down from the top bunk yelling "it's huge, really massive".

Luckily for me, Kath knows about bugs in the Antarctic. She's here to study them.

So she calmly told me there were not any species of land spider in this neck of the woods, but still helped me check out my duvet just in case.

This afternoon Paul and I are being taken out in a boat to a place called Lagoon Island near the British Antarctic Survey's Rothera base.

I'm really looking forward to it because we'll be able to see seals and other wildlife up close and personal.

We've still got quite a lot to film and we're going home in six days!

We must get back from the boat in time to find a fancy dress costume for tonight's BBQ.

Saturday night here is party night and the theme is anything to do with deserts. I'm not sure what I'll wear.

Most people seem to be keen to put a pineapple on their head - not sure I'm into that look. I'll let you know what we decided tomorrow.
Cyril the chef!
Cyril the chef!

Today's picture is of Cyril the Chef next to a fab cartoon of himself. Izzy, the other top chef, wasn't around to be photographed.

Lizzie, feeling fitter in the Antarctic.


Day 13: Friday 12 December

Everyone reckons we brought the beautiful weather with us when we arrived in Antarctica.

Since we stepped off the little red plane 10 days ago, the sun has been beating down on Rothera. This place is fast becoming the Antarctic Costa del Sol!

It's generally good news for everyone. The pilots can happily fly their planes to far flung research sites, the divers can take out their boats on the mill pond-like sea and Paul and I can get a great tan while we film the amazing landscape.

Today I've been interviewing Adam who's one of the meteorologists or weathermen (A kind of Antarctic John Ketley but much younger and without the beard.)

Part of his work is to find out what's going on in the earth's upper atmosphere. So three times a week he blows-up a massive balloon, attaches a sensor to it from a bit of string and then lets it go.

The sensor sends back information to Adam's computer which then tells him what the temperature, humidity and wind is like up in the atmosphere. Apparently the balloon gets bigger as it goes up, ending-up the size of two double decker buses before it eventually pops.

Every day a radio communications operator gets in touch with all the people who are working away from Rothera. There are scientists dotted all over the place, miles from anywhere so it's important the people here know that everyone's safe.

Radios are the main way for people to keep in touch if they're off base and often people accidentally use radio phrases even when they're talking face to face.

When I was interviewing a biologist called Mairi she finished one of her sentences with 'over' which really made me giggle.

It's Paul!
I still haven't been snowboarding, but when I do, you can be sure that'll be my picture of the day.

Today's photo is of Paul because his sister complained they were all of me! So here's Paul, my Producer while he was co-piloting the Twin Otter plane - just for you Clare Arnold.

Lizzie, 'over and out', in the Antarctic.


Day 12: Thursday 11th December 2003

My flight to Mars Oasis yesterday evening was my first trip into the field since I'd arrived at the British Antarctic Survey's Rothera Research Station nine days ago.

When I say The Field I don't mean going off to a grassy, fenced area with cows grazing. I mean going somewhere away from base.

Most of the scientists here need to travel to other parts of Antarctica to do their work.

Lizzie lands on Mars and gets in a skidoo
Lizzie in a skidoo
Sometimes they can go for just a day on a skidoo, but mostly they need to fly to a remote site where they could stay for weeks at a time.

I heard a great story about one chap who was away for 86 days and didn't change his underpants.

Apparently they fell apart when he eventually took them off!

Luckily for my under garments, we were just going on a day trip to Mars Oasis - as I said yesterday it's called that because all the big glaciers are named after planets - hence Mars. And there are pools of water there - hence oasis.

We went there to interview a Microbiologist called Kevin who studies bugs and small things you can't see with just your eyes.

It's a long way from Rothera so it meant my first trip in one of the Twin Otter planes.

It's quite a small plane and like a lot of things here - it's bright orange! It also has skis on the wheels and it was amazing coming into land on the snow and ice at Mars.

As I've said before, it doesn't get dark here in the summer so we can film as late as we like.

The flight takes two hours each way so we didn't arrive back at base until after midnight.

Can I just say a big thanks to everyone who worked on their day off to come with us - Rob, Kevin and Alan the pilot and also to all the plane mechanics who stayed-up late to welcome us back.

Anyway, we were all tired and hungry, so after a serious bit of fridge raiding, I finally got to bed about 2 O'clock this morning.

Today's pic is of everyone on the sledge waiting to be pulled by skiddo down to Kevin's work site.


Day 11: Wednesday 10th December 2003

Today is a good day. And I'm not talking about the weather. That always seems to be a good day here.

No, the reason today is a good day is because my computer is finally working. Yesterday I spent nearly 10 hours trying to send two minutes of video footage to Xchange.

Unsurprisingly I was very frustrated and I wasn't much fun to be around all day.

The picture of scowling frustration wasn't helped by the fact that I hadn't washed my hair that day. I think it's fair to say I wasn't looking my best. But hey, I'm in the Antarctic so who's watching?

Weird hair

Well apart from the 85 other people on base who can't understand why anyone would ever put me on the telly!

Our press officer Athena said I looked like David Beckham in one of his weird hair fazes. I didn't take it as a compliment.

But as I was saying - today is a good day. My Xchange pictures are gently working their way through cyber space via a satellite phone, all the way to the BBC's Television Centre.

Mars Oasis

You can see them from the 15th to the 19th of December at the usual Xchange time.

While that's going on, Paul and I are waiting to find out if we can fly to "Mars Oasis" today.

All the big glaciers in the Antarctic are named after the planets - hence the Mars name. The Oasis bit comes from the fact that the area has lots of pools of water.

At the moment the weather isn't good enough for us to fly, but the pilots are hoping it'll improve later on.

Snowboarding

We want to go there to interview a microbiologist called Kevin Hughes. He studies all the tiny creatures you and I can't see with our eyes.

If we do fly, it'll be the first time I go up in the BAS Twin Otter planes. They're quite small and only have two passenger seats. Hopefully I can sit in the cockpit for some of the flight.

But we may not be able to go, in which case I'm hoping to do some snowboarding. I managed to squeeze my boots into my bag before I left the UK. It meant I couldn't fit in a lot of other important stuff, but at least I can go boarding in the Antarctic!


Day 10: Tuesday 9th December 2003

Now, regarding the ridiculous photo of me wearing my snow boots with a slinky, black skirt...

It was because Paul (my producer) and I were invited onto the ship for dinner with the captain.

Lizzie in a slinky skirt and massive boots!
Lizzie in a slinky skirt and massive boots!
Having dinner with the captain is a very formal affair. Girls have to wear skirts and boys a shirt and tie.

The only problem for me was that I didn't have any shoes, hence the silly photo. Oh well!

The James Clark Ross ship belongs to the British Antarctic Survey and they use it to take people and supplies to all their bases around Antarctica throughout the summer months.

Footy match

The dinner did mean I missed the annual footy match between the 'James Clark Ross Rovers' and Rothera FC though.

I had put my name down to play but I was busy on the ship. It was probably the right decision because apparently there are more injuries from that one game than from any other activity all year!

My Newsround bosses would have been well pleased if I'd hurt myself and couldn't do any work! The game was nil-nil anyway so not exactly a corker of a match.

After dinner, Paul and I stayed-up until midnight so we could film the Antarctic landscape at night (or daylight, because remember it doesn't get dark here in the summer).

Changing light

It's important to film outside at different times because the light is never the same from one minute to the next.

At midnight, the mountains go a pastel pink shade. We were dumbstruck at just how extraordinarily beautiful it looked.

I know I keep going on about the scenery, and you'd probably prefer me to tell you more about the footy, but just take it from me, Antarctica is one amazing place.


Day 9: Monday 8th December 2003

The fashion police would have arrested me this morning.

To be honest, they'd probably arrest me everyday with some of the clothes I'm wearing at the moment.

But today I have committed the particularly embarrassing crime of getting sun burnt in random places across my forehead.

I didn't pay enough attention when I applied my factor 30 sun cream yesterday!

But no one seems to notice, they all have far too busy getting the rest of the supplies off the ship.

Yesterday's human chain is back in action again today. Thousands of bars of chocolate, hundreds of boxes of toothpaste and more tins of carrots than should ever be allowed.

The new supplies means fresh fruit is back on base. I've only been here a few days and I missed fruit so those who've been here 6 months must have been desperate for an apple or a banana.

Because the ship's in, the shop is open. The ship has a shop, a ship shop, (try saying that quickly) which sells t-shirts and various goodies with Antarctic pictures on.

By the time I arrived it was packed. Loads of people were crammed in trying to find Christmas presents to send home to loved ones.

We've been invited onto the ship for dinner this evening and I have to wear a skirt. I brought one with me but I failed to pack any shoes!

So it'll be an interesting look when I turn-up wearing my snow boots and a slinky black skirt.

Maybe that should be tomorrow's photo?

Today's is of me and the British Antarctic Survey's ship - The James Clark Ross, in the back ground.


Day 8: Sunday 7th December 2003

The ship's here! The James Clark Ross gently floated into the wharf about 3 O'clock yesterday afternoon.

It's what everyone's been waiting for as all the stuff that has run out, broken down or just been lost, can now be replaced.

Some people have been waiting months for equipment, and one just wanted to have get his hands on the new supply of mayonnaise. Apparently they ran out about 6 months ago.

But the boxes don't unload themselves and everyone's been working really hard to get them off the ship and into the right places.

Earlier I spoke to Thalia live on the phone for one of the weekend Newsround bulletins. It was really nice to talk to her - I'm constantly amazed at how easy it is to contact the UK from here.

I told Thalia, the only thing I really miss is fresh milk for my tea.

One thing that made me laugh was that yesterday seemed to be haircut day.

I'd come to the conclusion that most of them didn't bother - many of the men have long hair. Then I saw some chaps with no hair at all - they'd had it shaved off. I think I'll wait until I get back to the UK!

The photo at the top of this page is of me next to a Weddell Seal and an Adelie Penguin. The penguins are great and they don't seem to mind if you get up close. The seals are funny too. They kind of lie about on the ice all day, snoring.

Now that the ship's in I'll have a room mate so I spent time tidying-up this morning.

Let's hope I don't start talking in my sleep!

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

BORDER=0

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

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