This is Part 2 of our visit to Base W. If you haven't seen Part 1, you should start there!
Down from the attic and moving to the back of the base we had a chance to photograph the larders, second barrack room (and library), dining area and kitchen, followed by the surveyor's room, the all-important radio room, and the latrine.
Since only two seem to sleep here we assume the occupants were higher ranking than those in the first barracks.
As the two most dedicated photographers in the expedition, we were naturally the laggards when in an environment like this where every artifact tells a story and ghosts of times past dwell in every nook.
(Kevin writing:) Quite suddenly while photographing the kitchen we realized that we were the last ones in the base. Already a quiet and derelict place, the base took on an altogether weightier silence when the others had left. It's one thing to walk through a place with a small group, pointing and photographing the history laid bare, but it's quite an unexpected force that hits you when you're alone in such a place and internalize not only the lifestyle that existed within it half a century ago, but also the utter stillness and heavy silence that envelops the base day-to-day between the exceedingly rare visit.
Base W had been a working Antarctic survey base for three years, but it had been a deserted outpost with virtually no human contact for fifty years, and when that history hits you it's unexpected and potent.
(Kevin writing:) Heeding the guide's call, I left to take some exterior shots before we had to head to the Zodiacs.
(Rachel writing:) I was the last to leave Base W. This is somewhat normal for me as I easily get transfixed by the rooms, and items and can't stop photographing. At one point I was nearly the only person in the base. I knew Kevin was at the other end of the building, I could hear his movements, but at the same time I felt very alone, surrounded by the ghosts of the past. So intensely quiet that every breath almost echoed. It was a surreal experience I will never forget. I did not get to spend as much time as I would have liked the the labs beyond the kitchen, we both could spend days in that hut documenting it and still likely leave feeling we had missed something. Maybe we'll get to go back someday. Maybe by the time we do, very little will be left for us to find or they will have sterilized the hut into a museum causing most of the ghosts to have fled.
It's amazing but we actually end our day here as we head out to make some good headway in the evening and overnight as we head back north. It was a much needed evening of rest and yet we were constantly wondering what was in store for us next.
Read the next chapter: Day 8: Bird Watching in the Fish Islands
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Telling the Story posted Jan 10, 2009
Day 0: Positioning posted Jan 12, 2009
Leaving, on a jet plane posted Jan 12, 2009
Day 1: The Herc posted Jan 15, 2009
Day 1: Penguino posted Jan 16, 2009
Day 2: Chicken posted Jan 17, 2009
Day 2: Leopard posted Jan 19, 2009
Day 2: Snow Day posted Jan 22, 2009
Day 2: Shipwreck posted Jan 26, 2009
Day 2: Totally Tabular posted Jan 27, 2009
Day 3: Gentoo Cute posted Jan 29, 2009
Day 3: Lichen Shag Glacier posted Feb 3, 2009
Day 3: Palmer Station Visit posted Feb 9, 2009
Day 4: Icy Penguins posted Feb 11, 2009
Day 4: Adelie Awesome posted Feb 15, 2009
Day 4: Leopard Seal Attack posted Feb 17, 2009
Day 4: Kayak posted Feb 19, 2009
Day 4: Vernadsky Station Visit posted Feb 23, 2009
Day 4: Vernadsky Sunset posted Feb 25, 2009
Day 5: Antarctic Circle posted Feb 27, 2009
Day 5: Polar Plunge posted Mar 5, 2009
Day 5: Mouth of The Gullet posted Mar 13, 2009
Day 5: Ice Camping posted Mar 18, 2009
Day 6: Flamingos on Ice posted Mar 20, 2009
Day 6: Mountain Climbing posted Mar 24, 2009
Day 6: Ice Textures posted Mar 26, 2009
Day 6: Antarctic New Years posted Apr 2, 2009
Day 7: Crystal Sound Icebreaker posted Apr 9, 2009
Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 1 posted Apr 17, 2009
» Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 2 posted Apr 21, 2009
Day 8: Bird Watching in the Fish Islands posted Apr 23, 2009
Day 8: Icee Day - Part 1 posted May 5, 2009
Day 8: Icee Day - Part 2 posted May 11, 2009
Day 9: Port Lockroy - Base A posted May 20, 2009
Bonus Chapter: Baby Penguins! posted May 21, 2009
Day 9: Antarctic Humpback Whales posted June 3, 2009
Day 9: Dallmann Butt Sliding posted June 11, 2009
Day 10: Birthday Whales posted June 23, 2009
Day 10: Hannah Point Part 1: The Birds posted July 15, 2009
Day 10: Hannah Point Part 2: Elephant Seals posted July 22, 2009
Day 10: Deception Island - Part 1: Walking on the Moon posted Dec 11, 2009
Day 10: Deception Island - Part 2: The Martian Chronicles of Oz posted Dec 15, 2009
Day 11: Emperor Penguins posted Jan 8, 2010
Day 12: Black and White and Pink All Over posted Aug 4, 2011
More chapters posted every few days...
View Larger Map