Our last foray was special. we had a helicopter for the day and we headed out to 'cape Crozier'. This is the destination for 'the worst journey in the world' , often sited as the best travel book ever written. Three of Scott's party before their dash to the pole headed East. As opposed to Amundsen , whose sole purpose was 'pole bagging' , Scott's expedition was also a major scientific undertaking. There was a believe that Emperor penguins provided a vital link in the evolutionary story and by collecting penguin eggs and studying their embryos, it could be proven. So in complete darkness, mid winter, Bowers, Garrard and Wilson headed East. It was a journey of indescribable hardship ( quite well described in the book). It was so cold they had to get there bodies into sledge pulling position, before they froze like that for the day. I wont go into it, but we landed on this desolate volcanic ridge, with the wind howling. It was the coldest we had seen. Ben and Nigel did their best to tell the story and Nick and i did our best to stand upright and keep our digits. From here we headed onto the Ross ice shelf. A vast slab of ice the size of France. Under which somewhere lay the bodies of Scott's party. We filmed a very emotive piece then had Ben walk across the snow and ice as we thundered overhead in the Helli. I got to hang out on a harness with my excitement only tempered by the loss of feeling in my face!
We flew back over the most impossible cracks and crevasses with the wind rising. I asked the pilot to fly over a promontory to reveal the sea beyond. He tried and admitted he couldn't go higher and was losing power ( in fact the tail rotor had stopped earlier!), when a pilot says such words you listen and go home for tea and biscuits. we went home for tea and biscuits. We packed our kit, handed in our pee bottles, cleaned out our lockers and thanked our New Zealand hosts. It had been remarkable. The journey home was very very long, broken by Nicks birthday and a shopping frenzy in Christchurch. On arriving home the colours of the trees and grass looked ridiculous, everything was too colourful and too loud. but i guess all hardened Polar explorers say that.