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Montevideo, July 18th 2024 - 16:53 UTC

 

 

BAS three winter stations celebrate the longest night in Antarctica

Saturday, June 22nd 2024 - 06:37 UTC
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Midwinter falls when the sun is at its furthest point and some of the frozen continent will be experiencing 24 hours of darkness on its shortest day. Midwinter falls when the sun is at its furthest point and some of the frozen continent will be experiencing 24 hours of darkness on its shortest day.

June 21st marks the longest night in Antarctica and a very special Midwinter’s Day with 47 people or ‘winterers’ living and working at British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) three winter stations: Rothera on the Antarctic peninsula, and King Edward Point and Bird Island on South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Midwinter falls when the sun is at its furthest point and some of the frozen continent will be experiencing 24 hours of darkness on its shortest day. The event has its roots from the historical age of exploration and while working through the Antarctic winter, or ‘overwintering’, is now much more comfortable, many of the traditions continue.

Homemade gifts are an important component of Midwinter celebrations and staff working in research stations will spend many hours using their crafting abilities to make unique and special presents, as there are no shops in Antarctica!

The last delivery of fresh produce to the stations will have been many weeks ago, however talented chefs work hard to create a multi-course Midwinter feast, rivaling any fine dining experience back in the UK.

Colleagues working in British Antarctic Survey’s wintering stations will also receive a letter of thanks from the British Antarctic Territory’s (BAT) Commissioner and the Commissioner of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Celebrating Midwinter on Antarctic research winter stations

At the UK’s largest research station on the Antarctic peninsula, 34 staff members will gather together to celebrate the longest night in Antarctica. For the first time, the wintering team includes specialist construction workers who are completing the internal fit out of the new science and operations facility at Rothera, the Discovery Building.

The day started by calling colleagues at BAS Cambridge HQ and sharing Midwinter greetings. A special breakfast was served, followed by giving handmade gifts to colleagues. They will then have a multi-course dinner and the day will finish by listening to the BBC Midwinter Broadcast and listening to messages from loved ones at home.

King Edward Point

Nine winterers at King Edward Point Research Station will be celebrating together on Cumberland East Bay on South Georgia in the Subantarctic. The team have been celebrating Midwinter throughout the week with a series of social events, including Midwinter Olympics and a film night including watching The Thing, a horror film based in Antarctica!

The station leader will kick-off Midwinter’s Day by making the team brunch, followed by a special dinner, exchanging gifts and listening to the BBC Midwinter Broadcast in the evening. The festivities will continue over the weekend, with a picnic if the team have good weather!

Bird Island

Over at Bird Island Research Station on South Georgia, the four strong team will be having a relaxed celebration among the unique wildlife, including an abundance of seals and birds. They will start off with a special Midwinter brunch, followed by fondue in the evening.

Izzy Stubbs, Winter Station Leader said: “I think for us Midwinter is a time to truly appreciate how lucky we are to be among the few people who get to see and live on this island at this time of year. To be able to witness the magic of Bird Island over winter is such a privilege, and we all feel incredibly lucky to be here!”

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