HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

A Cook Islander on ice

Dana Wichman writes from Antarctica

Kia Orana from the bottom of the world: McMurdo Base, Antarctica. My name is Dana Wichman, 22yrs, Cook Island born and currently serving in the New Zealand Army as a soldier.
I am posted to McMurdo Base, Antarctica for a month supporting the United States Antarctic Programme. My job includes Terminal Operations, Stevedoring and Ship off load operations.
Each year Antarctic New Zealand request New Zealand Defence Force support for the forthcoming Antarctic summer season which extends from October to February each year.
We conduct twelve hour shifts together with the American Navy (NAV CHAPS) and Army unloading/loading the ship of general supply to last Antarctic residents over the winter season. At this stage I am on night shift which are from 6pm – 6am. Weather conditions change within seconds. There will be days when the sun is beaming and glistering with winds gusting and its freezing, and then times when it’s snowing with lack of visibility and it’s not as cold. Temperature has been sitting on an average scale of -20 degree since I’ve landed here.
On our day off there’s usually a trip to some part of Ross Island, to Scott’s or Shackleton’s Huts, the ice caves, out to the ski field, or to other local landmarks.
This is my second time being here in Antarctica and it is nowhere near as cold as it was the first time I was here in 2009. It’s very exciting to be here considering I am the first Atuian and may be the first Cook Islander to step foot here in Antarctica. The surrounding of the environment is stunning with whales, seals, penguins and Mt Erebus steaming in the background.
This will not be my last time here in Antarctica but I do encourage our people to get out there and do exciting things, the world is our oyster.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

Copyright 2006 Cook Islands Herald online . All rights reserved.