Today we went to the International Antarctic Centre, a visitor centre all about Antarctica.
Antarctica is a continent at the very southern most part of the world, it’s opposite is the Arctic which is at the most Northern part. The Arctic is floating ice, Antarctic has land under all the snow. Polar bears live at the Arctic, in the North, and Penguins live at the Antarctic, in the South.
Christchurch is called the gateway to Antarctica as the base is here where you can fly to it, and there are research centres here, where the visitor centre was.
The Scott Base is New Zealand’s permanent base on Antarctica since 1957. A maximum of 85 people stay on the base in the summer, and 10 in the winter. From the base they research about the animals that live around Antarctica and under the sea and ice, and also climate change and the ozone layer depleting.
We saw a film about a ship that let nets down into the depths of the Antarctic Ocean and collected samples from the seabed. They showed us lots of creatures that live down there. They were translucent, one squid had just eaten and you could see what it had eaten! They looked gooey, squishy and like aliens. Most of them were red and some were completely clear.
We experienced an Antarctic storm, we had to wear rubber overshoes and coats, the wind speed in the storm was 42.6 KMPH max and the wind chill was – 18.4 *C! The wind sounded like a howling wolf, and the cold bit into my face , after a while it felt numb. I was cold despite wearing a big coat and a wooly fleece! There was a slide made out of real ice that was slippery and good fun, however I got a wet bum!
We went on a Hägglund, which is the vehicle that they use in Antarctica. We went on a track round the back, it was very bumpy, we went through a pit of water! A Hägglund is a squat, rugged, all terrain vehicle on tracks. It was first used in Sweden and for army use, then they brought some down to the Antarctic for carrying people around. These are some pictures of the Hägglund :