Today I remembered being 13 years old for the first time in a long time (though my consultants and friends often say I have the mental age of a 12 year old).
It was 9pm at night. The video screen popped up and from my chair in Antarctica I was teleported into Netherthrope School in Derbyshire, England (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherthorpe_School).
A class full of 35 teenagers’ faces, all waiting to ask me questions.
It was fantastic – one of the best things I have ever done.
I bought a lot of equipment and clothing out here with me, some of which was provided by sponsors. This was to quench my thirst to push modern technology to its limits – heating clothing, a banjo, camera and video stuff, communication equipment and more – in an extreme environment. And here I was sat on Skype in the middle of nowhere able to communicate with the class. A triumph for modern technology.
It reminded me when I was travelling down Rio Amazonas River a couple of years ago, from one hospital site to another. Doctor Marcus Lacerda, a friend and established Specialist of Vivax Malaria in the Brazilian Amazon, had lent me a 3G Internet USB adaptor for my laptop.
So there I was sailing down the Rio Amazonas at night under all the stars you could ever wish for, having a conversation with a bright and educated daughter of a local Amazonian family in Portuguese via Google Translator! The following morning I watched Wimbledon Tennis Tournament from the comfort of my hammock on the boat sailing the river. Wonderful. And I never got Malaria.
Back in Antarctica, we had been online for just less than an hour.
I was impressed by the variety and types of questions I was asked.
I came to Antarctica as an enthusiastic 28 year old pretending to be a precocious 50 year old based on the books I had read and great many places I had visited before – and looked at life here as such – with the wisdom and sarcasm of a well-travelled person.
But on speaking to the class, I immediately was shown a new way to think about Antarctica… through the eyes of a 13-year-old. I was learning too.
Examples of questions asked by the class were:
- “Do you hunt Penguins?”
- “What do you do in a typical day?”
- “How do you go to the toilet?”
- “What do you eat?”
- “What’s the temperature where you are now?”
- “Will Antarctica be different if lots of people lived there?”
- “Is Antarctica windy?”
- “What is your favourite animal in Antarctica?”
- “Which do you like more- the Arctic or Antarctic?”
- “Have you ever been in a dangerous situation before”
- “Can you go outside?”
- “What law exists in Antarctica?”
- “Why don’t your hands and eyes freeze when you go outside?”
- “What clothes do you wear when you go outside?”
- “Which is more extreme – the Arctic or Antarctic?’
I especially liked this one – which was the most difficult:
- “What kind of doctor are you and what qualifications do you have?”
(My Answer- an adventurous one; not as many as I would like).
To Natasha Froggatt, who set this up – Many Thanks – it was excellent!
If you know of a school that would like to hold a live Antarctic Class with me here – feel free to get in touch via the CONTACT option above.
Weather report & Song of the Day
I have decided for all future blogs I will provide the reader with the current weather conditions and my song of the day with a link to be able to listen to it whilst you read my blog.
Link to Song of the Day: Long Ways to Travel by Woody Gutherie
Temperature [°C] : Avg=-55.3
Min=-59.0 at 04:13 Max=-50.9 at 14:32
Wind Chill [°C] : Avg=-71.3
Min=-76.9 at 04:24 Max=-65.4 at 15:36
Wind Speed [m/s] : Avg= 3.7
Min= 2.5 at 03:21 Max= 5.2 at 12:35
Pressure [hPa] : Avg=641.6
Min=641.1 at 13:47 Max=642.4 at 00:00
Relative Humidity [%] : Avg= 44.7
Min= 41.0 at 03:55 Max= 49.0 at 13:35