By Kelly Strzepek

It was such a privilege to be exposed to the many different facets of
marine and Antarctic science on my recent sojourn south. I’ve met physical, chemical and biological oceanographers, carbonate chemists, glaciologists, penguin and larval fish biologists and biochemists to name a few. I have also had the pleasure of meeting a fellow PhD student, Nick Roden, who in 2010 spent a year on the continent with the meteorological observations team. As I have previously mentioned, he is an extraordinary film maker. We had the great pleasure of viewing some of the footage that he shot during his year at Davis Station, including his winning submission to the perhaps lesser known ’48 hour’ film festival. It is the Cannes of the Antarctic. Exactly, didn’t know there was one did you?

The isolation that can be felt when overwintering is a constant
concern and to counteract this there are a number of events scheduled
throughout the season to provide entertainment and keep morale high.
Any station that is located from the Sub Antarctic south to the pole can
enter. The day before filming is set to start, the teams are given 5
elements that must be incorporated into the film, and then as the
name suggests, you have 48 hours to film it. Nick’s station had to
include the following:

1) Siren
2) Mouthwash
3) The phrase “Have you seen my chicken?”
4) A mop and
5) A disgruntled and grumpy diesel mechanic

It is hilarious, and considering the conditions and available
materials this film is a tribute to Nick’s talent. By the way Nick is
the one at the punching bag. It is also worth a mention that it was
minus 25 degrees out on the ice during shooting.
It is fascinating to hear his account of that period, and the effect
that is has had on him. It is hard to imagine being isolated on the
icy continent for a whole winter, with only 24 other people for
months of almost total darkness. A humbling experience by all
accounts, and often emotional voyage of self discovery.

An entire year away from loved ones would be too difficult at this stage of my life, four months however (she writes alluding to something possibly being in the pipeline) would be superb. Watch this space…..and Nick Roden’s for that matter, there are great things on the horizon.

But in the mean time, check this out: