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  Lizzie's diaries from Antarctica
Updated 16 December 2003, 11.32

Find out what Lizzie got up to in the third and final week of her trip to The Antarctic


Day 19: Thursday 18 December

Somebody once said 'To understand Antarctica is to understand life.'

It's a very grand statement and is often used by people who want to explain why it's so important to do research in the Antarctic.


Magical and unspoilt

But after only a short stay here at the British Antarctic Survey's Rothera base, I've come to realise the words aren't just about Antarctica and its vital link with global science.

They also seem to explain how living here can tell us a thing or two about human nature.

There is something about this place so magical and unspoilt that it changes people.

No arguments

I could step on a rock a couple of miles off base and possibly be the first person ever to have touched it. That's the crazy thing about life down here.

I haven't heard a single argument the whole time I've been here either.

Not one person has shouted (apart from me at my computer.) And yet everyone lives together, almost under one roof, sharing rooms, eating at the same table, watching films side by side.

More in touch

Everyone here is chilled mentally as well as physically. I've been trying to find out if people arrive as laid back, well-balanced individuals, or whether they just gradually calm down the longer they're in Antarctica.

I'm not trying to pretend I understand Antarctica yet either, my Producer - Paul and I are only holidaymakers in the 'south' experience.

But even after such a short stay, I already feel more in touch with what's important in life.

Going home

It's now my last day at Rothera. I am nearly at the end of my Antarctic adventure.

Paul and I just have the 48 hour journey back home via The Falklands and Ascension Island.

I'm really looking forward to getting back. I've missed my family, playing hockey and Curtis my rabbit. But we've had an unforgettable time. Every day has been a new and exciting experience.

It's been an incredible time, it's been Antarctica.

We would like to thank everyone at the British Antarctic Survey for allowing us to come on this trip. There will be a 'Newsround Antarctic week' in February with 4 daily reports and an Extra on Global Warming.

Lizzie x


Day 18: Wednesday 17 December 2003

My Antarctic adventure is almost over. Today is the last but one day at Rothera before I head off back to the UK.

You must have all been crossing your fingers and toes for me because the weather here this morning is a bit better. Thanks for that!

Santa Clause

Every festive season someone dresses-up as Father Christmas in a big red suit.


Dougie and Dave

They haven't decided who will play Santa this year yet. There's certainly no shortage of men with beards about!

I reckon it'll be between Air Mechanic - Dougie Laws and Pilot - Dave Leatherdale.

You can decide which one would make the best Santa Clause!

Rock bands

There are only around 80-90 people at Rothera at any one time yet there are two rock bands here!

The Kebabs are the original group and they let me listen in on one of their jamming sessions last night. They are really good!

They play a whole load of stuff but mainly rock songs by bands like Foo Fighters and Oasis. I can't tell you their set list because it's a secret for the New Year's Eve party.

Sea sick

I was having serious trouble not giggling this morning when my producer Paul was sick over the side of our boat!

We were filming a Marine Biologist called Andy Miller. He was in one boat with a special machine that measures things like the temperature and depth of the sea, while we were in another nearby trying to film him doing his work.

The water was quite rough though and very soon Paul went pale and then he was sick. (He's better now by the way.)

So that's it from me for today. Tomorrow I will try to sum-up my stay here and let you into my thoughts about life in Antarctica.


Day 17: Tuesday 16 December 2003

It's snowing! Now that might not sound unusual for the Antarctic, but since we've been here this place has been sunshine city.

Today though the skies are grey, the air is icy cold and everywhere is covered in a layer of soft new snow.

But it's still pretty mild compared with the kind of weather we'd braced ourselves for when we left the UK two and a half weeks ago.

We were expecting this to be a seriously cold place so Paul and I brought a whole host of special gizmos to work in the extreme Antarctic; batteries that would last in very cold conditions, a special polar duvet to keep the camera warm, hand warmers for our pockets as well as millions of layers of clothing.

So far we haven't had to use any of them!

Today's photo was taken in almost exactly the same place as yesterday's. Have a look at the difference between the two! Talk about a change in the weather!

It might be snowing we were still out in the cold this morning filming Keiron and Andy using the Remote Operated Vehicle.

It's an underwater video camera with it's own motor and the marine biologists put it in the water on the end of a long line so they can look at the really deep seabed without having to get wet.

It was really interesting to see what the it looked like.

From the ground, Antarctica appears mainly white, blue and grey. But underwater the continent is a rich variety of colours.

Oranges and lemons

We saw one creature they called a 'lemon' because it looks just like a lemon - bright yellow and well, lemon shaped!

Apparently there's another that looks just like an orange. I must say I'm pretty impressed with Antarctica's sea life.

Originally I'd just seen a few sea spiders which are what you'd expect - big spiders in the sea. But the lemons and orange slugs are great.

There's not much more we can do today unless the weather perks up.

Now I know why there's such a fab library of films and books here. I guess a lot of people spend a lot of time waiting for the weather.


Day 16: Monday 15 December 2003

Saddam Hussein and the problems in Iraq seem a world away from down here.

Of course we are in Antarctica which is a very long way from Iraq.

But it's easy to forget about the troubles elsewhere when surrounded by snow and ice. Life here focuses on work and weather, science and skiing.

Still, here at the Rothera Research Station they have the 'Rothera Times'.

I would like to say it's very good but I would be lying. But it is a daily mix of news and sport with the Pop Idol results every week.

It's a life line to the real world but with no TV or live internet, that would be impossible.

Bad weather

The weather is starting to turn now. For the first time since I've been here, I woke up to a grey sky.

The sun still manages to find a way through the clouds though. It's always a factor 30 sun cream day here.

Producer Paul and I are hoping to film the diving scientists today. They're the people whose work involves looking at all things to do with the sea.

It might mean taking another boat trip, but this will be a gentle float around the bay as the scientists do things like collecting sea creatures.

Oh I nearly forgot - I went snowboarding yesterday! It was amazing. I was a bit rusty and fell over a few times but I mean how cool is that?!

Thanks to Jobbo for lending me his board. In case you're wondering, no they don't have ski lifts here.

The only way up the hill is to be towed by a skidoo. It's kind of like a scary drag lift.

Unfortunately I didn't get a pic of me boarding, so today's photo is of the beautiful ice bergs in the bay yesterday.


Day 15: Sunday 14 December 2003

Yesterday afternoon I did one of the best things I have ever done.

I took a ride in a blow-up boat to Lagoon Island.

It might not sound very special but for me sitting on the edge of that little orange boat hanging on for survival as we hurtled over the Antarctic waves doing 23 knots (very fast) was an amazing experience.

At one particularly wavy point I thought I might not be able to hang on any longer. My arms were aching and my legs were burning as we kept crashing down onto another dip in the sea's waves, bang, thump, giggle (I kept laughing).

Anyway big thanks to Heff and Andy who took us out. Good driving lads.

Lagoon Island was pretty cool. That was the reason we'd made the fantastic boat journey in the first place. It's a beautiful little island with a hut which some of the guys go to when they want to escape living with 90 other people.

It's a lovely little hut with two bunk beds, a sink, and table and chairs. I'm not sure about a toilet though. I expect you just have to take your chances outside with that!


Apart from Lagoon Island being home to the great hut and lots of birds, there are plenty of Elephant seals there too. They don't seem to do very much. They just lie around sleeping and snoring. They're also quite smelly, so we didn't stay long.

Last night was BBQ and karaoke night here. The penguins must have been holding their wings over their ears!

The karaoke was very well organised by Mairi. I tried to sing 'Downtown'. It's a great song and I think it's the same one that Ulrika sang at Celebrity Fame Academy. But I ruined it. Oh well!

I'm off to interview a rock star called Craig who's come to Antarctica to record sounds for a DVD and CD he's making.

He's in a band called Cousteau which I'm told is big in America and Europe.

Here of course he's just like the rest of us - he has to share a room and do the dishes.

The photo is of a moulting elephant seal looking less than impressed with a Newsround reporter sticking a camera in its face.

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

BORDER=0


 


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