"What the Ice Gets, the Ice Keeps"

What challenges do people face living in this environment?:

We just finished a day of heavy icebreaking within the search area for Shackleton’s Endurance. This included getting temporarily stuck in ice several times. It has also turned very cold, with on-deck temperatures around -15 degrees Celsius/5 degrees Fahrenheit and chilly winds that quickly re-froze whatever open water we created in the wake of the ship. It is very challenging to be outside in these conditions. Any exposed skin freezes very quickly, and you run the risk of frostbite. Beyond our trusted ship, there is no other available source of shelter, food or heat. The sun also will not set until after midnight tonight, so every expedition member runs the risk of getting sunburnt, straining their eyes with a condition known as sun blindness and just overall getting confused about when it is time to sleep and when it is time to be awake.

How have people been adapting to this environment?:

When I say that the S.A. Agulhas II is an amazing ship, I really mean it. It has most of what we need to adapt to the harsh Weddell Sea environment. It is packed with all the food, fresh water, fuel and tools we need to successfully navigate everything but the thickest ice conditions for many weeks. When we were stuck in the ice, the Captain used one of the forward cranes to swing a heavy fuel container from side to side. He also pumped ballast water from side to side, and used the ship’s four massive engines to get us free. All expedition members also have special waterproof, windproof, insulated polar clothing. We wear layers of wool, multiple pairs of gloves, balaclavas to cover the neck and face and protective sunglasses or goggles to protect our eyes.