Antarctic Army. (Exploration & Discovery)

Article excerpt

The British Army Antarctic Expedition (BAAE) is expected to reach the Danco coast of Antarctica in the coming days, in order to undertake geological surveying and wildlife studies; make maps of the area; and climb a mountain or two.

The expedition's 22-metre steel ketch, the John Laing, set off from the Falkland Islands in late November 2001. According to email dispatches sent to Geographical direct from the vessel, the climactic phase of the BAAE's six-month adventure is proceeding as planned.

The 16-strong crew intends to stay on the Danco coast for seven to eight weeks, depending on weather conditions. Teams of mountaineers will venture inland, hoping to scale some of the peaks in the ill-explored part of the continent, while most of the crew will stay aboard the vessel.

Andy Bristow, Joint Expedition Leader, said, "The expedition is entirely self-supporting and will take in (and out) everything needed to sustain the crew and parties ashore for the duration of the trip."

A full programme of field studies and data gathering to support scientific programmes of the British Antarctic Survey, the Scott Polar Research Institute and the University of Brighton has been planned.

In addition, the expedition will carry out surveying for the British Antarctic Survey, to assess the accuracy of early whalers' charts, and produce more detailed maps.

Second Lieutenant Sarah Piesse from the Royal Engineers is one of the five `novices' on the Antarctic stage of the trip, having completed her military training at the Academy at Sandhurst just 12 weeks ago. …