About me

Welcome to my website where I share my experience and knowledge of living and working at Scott Base, a polar research station owned and operated by New Zealand in Antarctica. My name is Ray, and I have a working history in industrial automation and business.

Between my late twenties and early forties, my industrial work carried me across the world experiencing a range of countries and cultures while I installed equipment, fixed equipment, trained people, and helped build businesses for those who employed me. 

One of those Industrial jobs, when I was 30, included Antarctica, where I spent over 12 months living and working at Scott Base “Antarctica New Zealand” as the base electrician.  Best paid adventure EVER…

In my spare time during the winter darkness of 1997/98, I created a website so others could get a glimpse of the lifestyle in such a unique environment. It was a choice between learning sewing so I could create a polar fleece jacket or building a website using the access given by a web host called “Page Planet” with the approval of the Antarctica New Zealand management.  The material for the jacket has followed me from house to house and is still in a drawer at home.

 I spent a lot of time keeping fit by running out to the ice airfield, which was about 6km away, or a short but steep run up the road behind Scott Base leading to McMurdo (3km away) and the antenna farm.  At one time I was running in temperatures down to -43 degrees centigrade, for up to an hour at a time out to the ice runway.  Hence the title Ultracoolrunner. 

 Ultra-cold running is not something I recommend anyone does unless you can first get some experience running in warmer temperatures. When I talk about warmer, I mean warmer than     -25 degrees C.  Otherwise, it is very easy to damage your lungs and people can get badly hurt. Just a small side note, I was not an experienced or long-distance runner. It was just a good way to unwind and burn off some calories from the unlimited food.

The website covers sections about fun experiences, technology, everyday living, transport, wildlife, science, and things that school kids like to learn about. There are far more sections and topics, but you will have to go looking for yourself.

While I was on ice and creating my website, I spent an extremely large amount of time answering kids’ questions using email every morning via my ancient computer.  Near the end of my 12-month contract, I received an unexpected care package in the Antarctic mail.  I was super delighted when I found out that a classroom of kids sent me a big box of little gifts in appreciation for the many emails.  Those kids would now be in their very early thirties, and I wonder if they ever remember discussions about Scott Base.   

It was not just schools and science people who contacted me.  I had many calls from people who wanted to work at Scott Base.  All they needed was a bit of confidence and some insight as to what to expect from the job. So, I would help coach and prepare them for successful job interviews. I continued to provide this support and I helped people apply for work on the ice for a few years after I left the base.   

My original website is still available at GeoCities. You can find it if you go looking for my name and add the word Scott Base. However, it’s very old and a bit broken. The new site I am building will take time to develop and has far more detail that I never got around to doing previously. My priority is to get the site back up and running and see how it goes.

I was lucky enough to be one of the few people to spend a full 12 months on ice at Scott Base. It was an unforgettable experience. I learned a lot about the Antarctic environment, the wildlife, the history, and the culture. I also made some lifelong friends and had many fun adventures.

My goal is to share some of these stories and photos with you on this website and provide more insights than what I have done in the past.  You will get a glimpse of what life is like.  Time moves slowly on the ice because politics, people, and technology come and go, but the basics of how people manage every day have not changed that much over the years.  

I hope you enjoy exploring the website and learning more about Scott Base and Antarctica. I also hope you feel inspired to pursue your dreams and passions.  If this type of adventure is for you then maybe, one day, you too can visit this incredible place for work, or as a tourist.

I added an old photo of me, but we can talk more about that another day. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

Thanks for visiting.

Ngā mihi nui