With the world adjusting to COVID 19 lockdowns, Antarctica is the only continent with no known cases of the virus and one of the few places where social isolation is a regular way of life.
So as we approach the most unusual Easter we have ever faced in terms of social interaction, the advice of those who endure it for a living is timely - and it starts with - “staying flexible, and not worrying about what’s outside.”
The Australian Antarctic Division has collected the thoughts and observations of some of the 89 Australians currently living and working across our four research stations in Antarctica and the sub Antarctic. These men and women live their days in extreme isolation, at the bottom of the world.
This week I spoke with the Station Leader at Davis Research Station Antarctica, David Knoff. It was minus 16 degrees and pitch dark at 8 am with winter ahead for he and his 23-person team.
“We always say to remain flexible and this year has really tested that,” he said.
“Coronavirus has certainly had an impact in Antarctica and the importance of keeping the station coronavirus free will mean there will be less people for me to manage next year as we limit numbers.
“In a lot of ways, we actually had a lot of time to prepare for this (Antarctic winter) through training and talking to our families. In the Antarctic Program we’re used to having to be isolated and it’s interesting to see how it’s playing out back home.
“My advice is to really do it your way, don’t get too wrapped up in a routine, focus on what you’re happy to do, mixing it up and staying flexible.
“Make the most of the situation you’re in. If you’re stuck indoors don’t sit their worrying about being outdoors, just make the most of it.”
To see more insights into the way Australians are coping with the ultimate in social distancing and to pick up some Easter Isolation tips visit: https://youtu.be/wEiGBXXQff8
For David’s interview visit: https://bit.ly/2UPSU4K