Things to do Before you Leave Civilisation

Before you set sail for Antarctic there are quite a few things you’ll need to sort out. Health is important. You’ll need to have a full medical and make sure that your firing on all cylinders before you head south, we have a Doctor on the base at Halley but it’s still not a good idea to be out on the ice with health problems that you could have sorted out whilst in the UK. The same is true for your teeth, in fact dental problems can be one of the most common, not to mention painful, health problems for the people in Antarctica. So for the past few months I’ve been getting any issues with my teeth sorted out. Problems that may not cause too much of an issue but on the off chance that they did could turn into a real nightmare thousands of miles away from a dentist, all have to be sorted out. I’ve had two extractions at the moment and I have a few more appointments to go. To be honest I’ve not really been keeping up with my dental visits for the past few years so I was a bit hesitant before getting my dental MOT. However, Charlotte, my Dentist is brilliant. She has been nice enough to not call me an idiot for not visiting the dentist for so long and although one of the teeth took quite a bit of tugging to get it out none of it has been too unpleasant.

Buying stuff to take with you is something to think about quite a bit, there are no shops and only two deliveries a year- so not much shopping can be done once you’ve left. There are things you definitely want to have with you. I think the most expensive thing I’ll be taking with me will be an SLR camera. I’ve not really any experience of photography and although you can take some nice shots with a compact, if there is anywhere on the planet you want to use and learn something a bit better, then Antarctica is it. I really want get some of those long exposure shots of the Milky way and amazing auroras I’ve seen on other blogs.
Clothes need buying, lots of warm stuff obviously, but just planning what you’ll need for eighteen months is a task, let alone eighteen months where I’m going. Lots and lots of sock seems to be the main advice I’ve been given.

My Mum kindly bought me some undies. They’re proper nice.

Nasty

Nasty

Things to entertain you whilst away. I like to read a lot so I’ve been cramming as many ebooks onto my Ipad as possible, there’s plenty of free books available that are out of copyright (good job I like classics) and I’ve been asking friends for recommendations of more contemporary stuff. I’ve also been stuffing as many films and box-sets as I can onto a hard drive. I always like to listen to music or an audiobook whilst I’m working so plenty of that too. Downloading stuff is not really do-able whilst on base due to the low bandwith so I’m grabbing as much as I can.

I’m also trying to get in as much of the stuff that I wont be able to get whilst down there so I’ve been scoffing loads of butties from Sulivans, the sandwich shop at the top of my street. I’ll be making good use of the gym down there, as well as being outside hiking and climbing so I’m not too bothered about putting on a bit of weight before I ship out (it’s insulation anyway). which is good because I’m eating for England at the moment. I’m sure an Antarctic marathon will have me fit again…

I have made sure to take some essentials from home. Top of the list were these:

Proper tea!

Proper tea!

I know they won’t last long so I’ll have to ration them.

Tips and recommendations of books or other Antarctic essentials are more than welcome!

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