For anyone who thinks (like I did) that Antarctica is a bone-chilling freezer lashed by constant blizzards, a visit to the Antarctic Peninsula is a surprise.
As you can see from the picture, you can even play soccer at the British Rothera research station -- Stuart Mc Dill of Reuters TV (a skilled left winger) and I (unskilled) joined in a game last night and I have the grazes to prove it. Our team managed to win, 4-2, on the gravel pitch outside the plane hangar -- meteorologist Ali Price brilliantly knocked in three, even though he was wearing a pair of clunking hiking boots.
And last weekend, staff had an outdoor barbecue with steaks and a cooler for drinks made from snow scooped up by a bulldozer.
At Rothera, summer temperatures now are comparable to the winter in England, where the British Antarctic Survey has its headquarters in Cambridge. On "warm" days, when temperatures climb to about 7 Celsius, some in Antarctica staff wander around outside in tee-shirts and even shorts.
Temperatures today are 0.5 Celsius (32.9 Fahrenheit), not much cooler than 4.4 Celsius (39.9 F) at BAS headquarters.