Sue Harding from Castletownroche sends this account from the Halley Research Station in the Antarctic where she is on a three month stint, cooking meals for British researchers in extreme conditions:

I’m still undecided if I should wear the big boiler suit, it’s like an astronaut’s suit or if I should go for the County Council look? There’s a lot of shovelling of snow to be done and they warned us to work slowly so we don’t build up a sweat as it can bring on hypothermia quicker – County Council look it is so. 

These are the thought processes you have to go through when trying to rescue a shipping container full of food from tipping over on itself because the snow is melting and it doesn’t really move very well on skis when pulled. They’ve told me it’s a lot hotter this season than they’ve experienced before, or at least for this length of time. It’s been hovering around the -1 to +1 degree for the last week. 

I’m pretty sure its colder at home in Castletownroche. In saying that, I’ve experienced the -18 and blowy conditions as well but it’s not as extreme as I thought it was going to be. I’ve been running the perimeter line in shorts and my Cork jersey some days so I think Shackelton and Crean had it a lot worse than me. 

Anyway, we rescued the container and its sitting fairly upright now with all its contents looking like they’ve gone through a spin cycle in the washer, another day in the life of being a chef on the Antarctic. It’s going to be like Russian roulette when it comes to cooking for them over the next week. 

Full account in this week’s Print & Digital Edition