British Antarctic Survey ship RRS John Biscoe II at first relief of
Signy Island in November 1985. Being a small ship with a shallow draft, the
Biscoe was able to come very close in to shore. Here it is pumping
diesel ashore into a bulk fuel tank through a floating fuel
line, the string of black floats can be seen between the ship and
shore. This fuel is what will power the generators that will
keep the base "alive" through the year,
particularly the winter.
"First relief" is an event that cannot
be explained to those who have never experienced the isolation of
an Antarctic winter. Suddenly "The World" - this distant
memory - arrives on your doorstep and acts as if it's not at all
unusual. Despite appearances, many base winterers find it a time
of difficulty and awkwardness.
something is gained, something is also lost
- Chinese proverb