If you’ve been snow camping then this will probably be a pretty unnecessary post for you.
Camping in Antarctica – sounds crazy, right? I should start off by saying that it actually wasn’t that cold while I was down there, between 20 and 40 degrees with some wind chill. Occasional snow.
In preparing us to camp ashore, we were reminded of some more IAATO rules – there are quiet hours on Antarctica. From 12 midnight though 5 am all humans must remain quiet to provide quiet time for the animals as well. Although it doesn’t mean that they will be quiet and it is typically quite the opposite. The tents also had to be 150 meters away from wildlife both for their safety and ours.
Once deciding on a place to sleep ashore, we scooped out and stamped out snow to create a foundation for our tent. I must say that my partner and I did a pretty good job.
After a hearty dinner on the ship, we were encouraged to relieve ourselves on-board but not to dehydrate ourselves. A toilet was set up with its own tent around it.
We explored the area, checking out the penguins nearby. I just sat down in the deep snow and watched as they stole rocks and made a lot of noise.
Nearby our camping site was an Argentinian refuge with its door frozen open. They don’t have as much funding and as a result aren’t taking care of their bases and huts as well as they should. The Brits also have a place here – the Damoy Hut. It has a small living area and a separate bunk area.
While sleeping, we were told not to try to sleep in all of our layers as the sleeping bag is body heat activated and body heat can’t be hidden in the layers.
When we woke up in the morning, snow had fallen and created an igloo out of our tents. It was a beautiful sight to see. There was much more on my tent than this photo indicates. During the night as it fell, it created a beautiful gentle crackle sound. It also made it extra quiet in our tent and extra insulated. I wore an eye mask due to the 24 hour daylight but was happy to fall asleep to the penguins and stillness of the snowy night.
Back on board in the morning we were presented with hot chocolate and Kahlua!