A local girl had a dream come true when she was one of only two applicants chosen from hundreds to make a trip of a lifetime to the Antarctic for two weeks of fun on the ice.
Marli Lopez Hope won an international competition at the end of last year with Air New Zealand, who created the opportunity for two people to go the the bottom of the planet to assist National Geographic photographer Jason Edwards capture life on the ice and to help draw worldwide attention to scientific research and the environment in Antarctica.
Marli, who is currently studying film and television production in Melbourne, saw the competition on a university website.
Marli’s home for the duration was Ross Island with a beachfront view of the frozen Ross Sea at Scott Base, where the average temperature during her stay was -11.6°C. Her first night was spent in a tent on the ice.
She says that what we don’t often understand is the importance of the science that is going on down there. ‘Antarctica has an ocean current that actually pushes all the currents around the world. When the landscape down there changes that ocean current changes as well and if you are not getting that belt of ocean currents that are going around, there are massive implications all around the world.’
And was it cold? ‘It wasn’t just wearing one jacket. It was putting on four jackets and and two thermals and putting on your neck warmer. We looked like teddy bears, we were waddling like penguins, but you got used to it.’
Marli’s lasting impression of her trip was the gravity of the work.
‘If we don’t support and keep supporting the science, then we’re not going to have a chance of being able to protect what we have left.’
A glimpse of Marli’s adventure can be seen on YouTube. Search for Antarctica: No Ordinary Place, No Ordinary Assignment for an idea of just how cold it really gets.