At about 8 in the evening the zodiacs started to unload passengers from onboard the boat to the island we’d be camping on. Stephen and I carried only some books, gloves, warm hats, earbuds and eyeshades.
Once we arrived it was a quick grab of equipment and then off to dig our snow graves for the evening (winter camping is a special experience). We were told to dig into the snow about 6 inches minimum, as long and wide as ourselves, so that we could shield ourselves from any wind that might come our way. If it began snowing heavily, raining or the wind became too strong, the camping would be cancelled – even at 2 in the morning.
We began to dig our spots and as the theme song from ‘Holes’ rang in our heads we got everything set up. Some people took liberty with the 6 inches and set up the deluxe, luxury, 3 foot down grave (stairs included) but knowing that we’d have to refill the graves the next morning, Steve and I kept our digging to a minimum.
We were completely set up within about half an hour. Sleeping liner in the sleeping bag in the outer shell bag with a sleeping pad…boots off, eyeshades on head, book in hand. With it not getting dark at all I decided to see how long I could read for, but a very light snowfall and the actual comfort of my sleeping situation and I was instead one of the first to fall asleep.
During the night I would wake up to the sounds of glaciers calving.
It was an experience that I couldn’t see why people would do besides to ‘say they had done it’ until one lovely couple I met created the picture of idyllic, pristine perfection. Leaving the island, that’s exactly the feeling I left with. It was so quiet, the air was so fresh and it felt amazing to be where explorers had been for the first time not even 200 years ago.
We woke up the next morning at an early 5:30 AM. We packed up, filled our snow holes and took zodiacs back to the boat. A quick nap, short breakfast and a boat full of “welcome back campers!” comments left us ready to take on another day in Antarctica.