As I’ve mentioned in passing before, when one visits South Georgia or Antarctica, one has to follow certain rules. Most of those are there to ensure the safety of the wildlife and the environment from visitors, but some are also about visitors’ maintaining of personal well-being. Information with regards to South Georgia can be found here: http://www.sgisland.gs/index.php/Main_Page and about Antarctica here: http://iaato.org/frequently-asked-questions#top.
Following the suggestions for how best to dress is vital. Katabatic winds can appear out of nowhere, and then it is crucial to have something that will keep you warm and protected. And this is what it looks like: as you can see from the picture, I was wearing a wind- and waterproof outer layer, a thermal mid-layer, hat, gloves, sunglasses and rubberboots. They were mandatory for all passengers and stored away neatly according to cabin number. As you can’t see in the top picture, there was another thermal layer underneath, plus a normal one. I asure you, although the lowest temperature we experienced was only about -1.5°C, the windchill made it feel much colder. I was very glad about all my layers!
For kayaking I had to don two thermal layers and a drysuit (left hand side in the photo). For cruises in the polar circle boat two thermal layers, one water- and windproof layer and an extra thick suit (right hand side in the photo) had to be worn. On top of all of this came UV-protection for any tiny bits of exposed skin and a life vest. To maintain biosecurity and to avoid bringing new and unwanted species from one landing site to another, we also had to vacuum – using this huge hose – all our gear which went on shore with us. That was mostly fun except for the velcro bits in my outer trouser layer. They had always some stuff neatly sticking to it. Smoking was thankfully forbidden on all landing sites, as was the collection of stones, sand, bones, shells, plants or any other material (grumpily).