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Notes from the Field

Arrival at Jang Bogo station

November 16th, 2015 by Maria-Jose Viñas

By Christine Dow

Christine Dow and Ryan Walker, setting foot in Antarctica.

Christine Dow and Ryan Walker, setting foot in Antarctica.

We made it to Antarctica in one piece! After a delightful 3 am start, we boarded the Safair plane that was to take us to the Antarctic along with Korean, Italian and French scientists. What followed was a somewhat chilly, noisy, cramped 7-hour flight. However, the views out our tiny window as we approached and then flew over Antarctica made it all worthwhile. We landed on a sea ice runway in front of the Italian Zucchelli station, with an impressively long run in, and then stepped out into bright sunshine and a “refreshing” breeze. The Antarctic! What a spectacular place. We were surrounded by mountains and ice and sea ice as far as you can see. Ryan traveled the 7 kilometers to Jang Bogo in a “Piston Bully” tractor, but I was lucky enough to get driven over in a specially adapted Kia SUV with heated seats. What luxury! On the way over, we drove past some basking Weddell seals and seal pups enjoying the sunshine.

Jang Bogo from the outside looks like a space ship and the inside does not dispel this imagery. It was only built in the last couple of years and has all the mod cons. There’s a greenhouse, hospital area, small gym with climbing wall, espresso machine, wi-fi throughout, and even humidifiers in each room. An intercom announces meals with cheery music (including breakfast at 6:50 am, which is a slightly disconcerting way to wake up if you’re not expecting it). The best thing by far is the view from the window. I can see an impressive iceberg, some more seals and the terminus of Campbell glacier. Flags from the countries representing the people staying at the base are flying outside including Korea, Japan, New Zealand, the US and the UK.

We were only able to bring one GPS and one tiltmeter with us because of weight restrictions on the plane. The rest of our equipment will arrive next week. In the mean time, we are going to have to examine the planned field sites so we are expecting a helicopter flight soon. More on it later!

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3 Responses to “Arrival at Jang Bogo station”

  1. Jessica says:

    Your travel sounds exciting, I’m betting that winter here in the southern states is more of s summer walk than in Antarctica. I wish the team luck and be safe, I hope to read more about the exhibition.

  2. Camilla Croft says:

    Hi, I am an Australian who went down to Antarctica a couple of times…once to the Ross Sea and down to McMurdo Base on the Kapitan Kalegnikov (forgotten how to spell it) and once from Ushuaia to the Fsulklands, South Georgia and the Peninsula. Like everyone who goes down it was life changing and truly wondrous and I enjoyed reading your article and wonder if you will have a blog of some description during your stay down there that I would be able to,read. I am almost computer illiterate but just love hearing about life down there. You are probably getting 6 million messages so I won’t be hurt if you don’t have a chance to reply. But you never know your luck do you. All the very best for a wonderful experience down there oh lucky you.

  3. Lee says:

    Your adventures sound very exciting. Were you able to produce data and evidence of your adventures to publish to the Masses whom paid for the Information?