I’ve done everything I can do

5 Dec

Still waiting for an email from the cruise ship, but realistically won’t hear back from them until next week, so I’m off hiking and camping for the weekend.

My plan for this post is to document my efforts to find work in Antarctica. I have basically exhausted all options, now it’s just a matter of keeping in contact with them and playing the waiting game, but lets hope I’m on that boat headed to Antarctica at the end of this week! This post is more for my future reference, it may be a bit boring for you, but please read on if you want. If anyone can think of anything else I can try please let me know. OK, here goes my Antarctic work time line from what I can remember.

– First realised that I had to actually to go Antarctica!

  • Innocently started surfing the web about working in Antarctica – ohhhh, there’s Science Bases down there, I’ll just go and work in one of those, that was easy. I started emailing them and getting information, found out that bases do an annual recruitment at the start of each year for the coming summer season October to March. Spent countless hours surfing the web, building up Antarctic work knowledge.





  • Applied for cleaning and field support roles at New Zealand’s Scott Base (100 people applied for 2 cleaning positions)
  • Joined my mines Emergency Response Team to make myself more Antarctic Employable. Gained qualifications in first aid (emergency first responder), rope rescue and hands of experience in fire fighting, search and rescue etc


  • Joined the mines airport ground crew, gaining experience in unloading, marshalling, refuelling.



  • Contacted the NZ armed forces who run the shop at Scott Base, and have kept in contact.
  • Applied to US Mcmurdo Base through NANA services. I even talked Mandy into applying as well, she ended up getting accepted, but turned it down as her unemployable Antarctic boyfriend didn’t get accepted (why would you go to the trouble of getting a work visa for a kiwi when there are 300 millioin Americans that are quite capable of cleaning a toilet)
  • Looked into the 4 Australian Bases but they only have qualified specialised positions, ie nothing that I can do
  • Looked into the Antarctic Logistical companies, most notably Raytheon, but once again it’s an American company and would only supply a work visa to a specialised position.
  • Looked in the British Antarctic Survey.

  • Emailed various Antarctic heritage trusts that look after the heritage sites, the old huts down there. For example the British heritage program that runs a souvenir shop and post office in Port Lockroy.
  • Started to look into cruise ships, sent out emails to Antarctic cruise ship companies I found on the net.



  • With all my new rescue qualifications and experience, applied as a cleaner for New Zealand’s Scott Base again (from my past years experience it is basically the only base I have a chance at getting into).
  • Applied for a volunteer position to paint the exterior window sills of Scott Base for the New Zealand Antarctic society.
  • Kept in contact with the Armed Forces about work in the Scott Base shop.
  • Emailed universities
  • After unsuccessful base applications my focused moved to cruise ships. So Mandy and I decided to move to Argentina, the home of Ushuaia where the Antarctic bound cruise ships leave from.
  • I contacted all 52 companies that are registered under the IAATO (Antarctic tour operator governing body). Found out most boats were already staffed, a lot of boats have Russian boat crew and Pilipino hospitality staff.



  • Followed up all the new leads I got from the 52 companies.
  • Emailed the cruise ship recruitment companies.
  • Before arriving in Ushuaia, had business cards, t-shirts printed, jacket printed.
  • Emailed all my cruise ship contacts, cruise ship recruitment agencies etc, telling them that I was in Ushuaia, willing to do anything and ready depart immediately. (4 months ago when I arrived in Paraguay I contact all 52 companies registered under the IAATO to work in Antarctica).
  • Visited the two cruise ship companies that actually have offices here in Ushuaia.



  • Went to the Prefectura (Its like the navy guys, boating division, something like that, they are in charge of all the goings on in the harbour) and asked about work, getting my zodiac licence (zodiac is the name of the inflatable boats that take passengers from the cruise ships to the land for an outing etc)
  • Tried to get into the port where the cruise ships were, but couldn’t pass security guards.
  • Made numerous trips to the yacht club to see if I could help crew boats to get experience, also approached the big yachts to see if they were going to Antarctica and needed anyone.



  • Went and asked at the Naval base to see if they had a way for me to get to Antarctica, but was told that the Navy boats that go to Antarctica leave from Buenos Aires.
  • Approached the local newspaper and got them to publish an article on my quest.
  • Visited the fishing companies that operate in Antarctica
  • Contacted DAP airlines that fly to Antarctica
  • Contacted Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions that have a base at Patriot Hills in Antarctica, the only private company to operate on Antarctica.




  • Went down to port and waited at the entrance/exit with letters for the captains and staff managers on the boat
  • Went to local port agents and shipping agents
  • Did interview with journalist friend Vicky who is going to do another article on me.



  • Contacted SCAR (Scientific Committee of Antarctic Research) and got the list of all countries that have Antarctic science bases.
  • Then I emailed all the countries that have science bases in Antarctica, and even the ones that don’t but have Antarctic interests. I offered to volunteer and do whatever work available.
  • I have been in contact with 2041,I have talked about them in previous posts, a great company, a great cause, I really want to be a part of it. I went and met the founder Robert Swan the other day at the airport after reading his book in 3 days, great guy, very positive, if I have time I will write about it.



    So that’s about it, I would of missed something out, but that’s what I can remember for now. If you have any ideas, I’m all ears, and remember, cross those fingers!

4 Responses to “I’ve done everything I can do”

  1. Jordi at 2:44 am #

    You did more than me in one month than my 5 months here in Ushuaia!!!!! Be patient, think positive and play the crazy desperate Waiting Game, any day it could change and make it possible your dream… trust me, you will go to Antarctica!


    • Hap at 5:15 am #

      Cheers Jordi,
      You of all people know exactly how it is, another determined Antarctic worker. Great bumping into each other the other day, will catch up this week.

      OK mate, best of luck to you as well!

      Un brazo Hap

  2. Lynn at 10:02 am #

    Hola Hap
    Pretty damn impressive. One thing you have left off the list is that you have gone to “school” in South America and learnt and become proficient in Spanish. Without this you couldnt have done what you have in Ushuaia on your quest to get to Antarctica (also comes in handy for replying to emails from plonkers..if you get ma drift)

    • Hap at 5:16 am #

      Cheers G,
      yeah didn’t really think of that, but you’re right.

      OK, I will sometime this week.
      NBL Hap

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