A wondrous world of hidden treasure awaits those brave enough to journey to the land of ice and snow. Antarctica, a land often described as the coldest, windiest, driest, least populated and most remote corner of the world, is not a place for the faint-hearted. Yet, those brave enough to journey there will forever have a deep connection to the icy wonderland.
SANSA's 2014 Space Science Antartic team left for the South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) IV base in Antartica on 5 December 2014. South Africa maintains a permanent research base there for scientists to participate in various research programmes. The SANSA team consists of researchers, engineers and postgraduate students who undertake space science research and monitor space weather from the base throughout the year, as part of the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) aimed at studying and monitoring the near Earth-Space environment.
Getting there – a world away
The 4 500 km journey to Antarctica begins aboard the SA Agulhas II research and supply vessel anchored at Cape Town Harbour. Three weeks of rough seas, delays and seasickness lie ahead before the ship reaches the Ice Shelf. All discomfort aboard the ship becomes inconsequential when you catch your first glimpse of some of the most spectacular sights you could imagine. Breath-taking views of icebergs and ice floats and unparalleled sunrises and sunsets compete for attention as you watch the local inhabitants – penguins, whales and seals – splash about in the icy water off the Ice Shelf.