25 Dec 2022

Antarctica Christmas 'like your own private bach'

6:42 am on 25 December 2022
Ian Hawes in his dive suit.

Ian Hawes in his dive suit. Photo: Jamie Morton/NZ Herald

A New Zealand freshwater professor working in Antarctica says efforts are being made to make Christmas day feel as "traditional" as possible.

Waikato University's Ian Hawes has been at a deep field research camp at Lake Fryzell, in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, more than 90 kilometres from Scott Base since early December.

He is part of an international team investigating Antarctic ecosystems and how they are responding to climate change.

The current work is focusing on inland aquatic ecosystems, including streams, ponds and lakes.

Although the festive season had been a productive period for the team, the camp were taking the weekend off to celebrate Christmas.

"We're going to have a little fun amongst ourselves ... we've got some special food coming out, we've got a turkey coming out," Hawes said.

"We're going to do the best we can to make it a traditional Christmas here."

Members from other camps in the valleys would be joining the team for Christmas dinner, he said.

"That'll bring another four people to our camp for dinner.

"It'll be nice to see some new faces."

Taylor Valley in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica.

Taylor Valley in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica. Photo: Marte Hofsteengemarte / Otago University

The freshwater ecologist likened the spectacular backdrop of the Arctic to spending Christmas "at your own private bach".

"It's pretty unusual for most people to be somewhere where the sun doesn't set and the view is so spectacular and you're pretty much cut off."

Hawes will be returning to New Zealand in late January.

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