Raise your glass to Moose

Like, polar bears, there is a distinct lack of moose in Antarctica. The largest animal living entirely terrestrially on the continent (bar migratory homo sapiens) is a tiny mite. Of course, the biomass of the animals that occur on the fringes of the continent and live by land and air or water is immense – seals, penguins and other birds, whales and every type of sea creature. Here at SANAE we are a little too far from the coast to see more than petrels, some wandering skuas and the aforementioned mites. However, the Moose is particularly missed – Moose being the nickname of my friend Nic Good. Nic is the creative power behind the Fresh Air Crew, an adventure film-making company that has brought the outdoors and extreme sports community some of their most well-known documentaries. Humble and adventurous, Moose is also very generous, and when I was bemoaning the difficult of finding a suitable pair of ski’s in South Africa in the weeks before our departure he immediately donated a pair of his (pictured above). Kitted with skins which allow cross-country and uphill travel, they are ideal for moving swiftly around on the snow and ice near the base, allowing me to make inspections of the scientific and logistic installations without resorting to a noisy snowmobile. It’s also good exercise – at the moment mostly exercising the muscles used to stand up after falling over 😉 . The photograph above was taken near the inteferometer array just before 16h00 this afternoon as I was returning to the base, with the overcast sky turning the world shades of blue while the weak setting sun tried almost in vain to add a dash of colour. For a while I lay on the ice listening to the wind, deeply at peace and filled with a sense of belonging. Then, tightening the bindings, I skied back to the base to raise a glass to Moose. Thanks, mate.

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