South

On 13th January 2016 I’m due to fly from London to Cape Town, alongside a BBC TV crew and BBC presenter Peter Gibbs. There we’ll join the RRS (Royal Research Ship) Ernest Shackleton, for a two-week voyage south across 2,500 miles of the roughest seas in the world, to reach the British Antarctic research station Halley in the last week of January.

antarctic routemapIt’s a big trip coming up. Two years in the planning.

We stay (only) a week at Halley, then depart northwest, through the pack ice of the Weddell Sea and across the Drake Passage to reach Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands in mid-February.

After a couple of days there, we board an RAF charter flight from the Falklands to Ascension Island, in the middle of the Atlantic near the Equator. The TV crew fly straight on to Britain, but Peter and I disembark for a few days. From Ascension we fly on to the UK, due to touch down at RAF Brize Norton about breakfast time on 24th February.

Why? The backstory is here – click to read.

I’m producing two documentaries for BBC Radio 4, both presented by Peter Gibbs – one on Halley (Peter’s return there after 35 years, the journey, the location, the science), the other on Ascension Island (its unique ecosystem, conservation issues around the introduction of invasive species). There’ll be more radio from the Falklands, blogs and features, and – bandwidth permitting – I’m hoping to be able to tweet and send short videos for social media throughout the trip. TV is there to film a separate, full-length science documentary, also presented by Peter.

But there can’t be any guarantees. I may be off-grid for the whole six weeks. The sea ice might slow us down – or, perhaps, trap us for a few hours. Or days. Or longer, if we’re unlucky. Impossible to predict.

You can follow the journey.

Track the progress of the Shackleton here, hour-by-hour.

There’s a webcam on the ship here, updated hourly.

There’s also a webcam at Halley here, updated hourly.

I will try and tweet from @matthewteller.

Also follow these Twitter accounts for details as the journey unfolds:

@PeterGWeather

@bas_news

@BBCScienceClub

@BBCScienceNews

@BBCWeather

And also the BBC’s news feeds on Twitter, BBC Science News on Facebook, etc etc, as well as updates on the BBC Weather website and elsewhere. There might be hashtags, I don’t know.

You could try following me on Snapchat @matthewteller – I’ll do my best to upload snaps & stories. Instagram? If I can.

Antarctica is absence. Absence from loved ones, silence in children’s lives. It is darkless, then lightless. It has no colour, no water, no people. No smell. It is rock, unyielding, or touchless powder. Comfort is there, but not of this world. I have, almost literally, no idea what’s going to happen.

.

.

.

 

16 Comments

  1. heleblundell

    Fantastic. I’m really looking forward to following your tweets out there and to seeing the documentary on Halley!

    1. Matthew Teller

      Thanks so much, Helen. My Halley documentary will be on the radio – much better pictures than TV, even better if you keep your eyes closed…

  2. Camminare in Australia

    Can I just say I hate you? 🙂

    1. Matthew Teller

      I kind of hate myself for this one, Camminare…

  3. Tony Howard

    Great trip Mathew! And a busy one too. Enjoy, it’s a wonderful place.

    1. Matthew Teller

      Thanks, Tony. Look forward to sharing stories again soon.

  4. heleblundell

    Even better, Matthew. Will you be doing a podcast too? 🙂

    1. Matthew Teller

      I don’t know, Helen. I hope so.

  5. tahenryauthoress

    so Jealous….be present for every moment

    1. Matthew Teller

      That’s great advice, thank you.

  6. Akassh Murali

    Have a great trip. Hope you give a review about it!!!

    1. Matthew Teller

      Thanks, Akassh! I will, definitely.

  7. Julie

    Like everybody else, I wish you a great trip – it sounds downright dangerous to me, roughest seas in the the world, stuck in pack ice, and presumably COLD.

    How lucky we are that there are adventurous people around!

  8. Julie

    PS : I’ll be following you as well!

    1. Matthew Teller

      Thank you, Julie! Feeling more lucky than adventurous just now, but I appreciate the thought 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *