Elaborate Christmas feast at Scott Base

Despite the fact that everything needs to be brought to Antarctica by air or sea, there was no skimping on Christmas dinner.

The festive season came early at Scott Base - on Sunday - as Monday and Christmas Day were two rare days off for staff.

The base's two chefs, Damian Thorn and Josh Heerdegen, laid on a spread of salmon, ham, chicken wrapped in bacon, new potatoes, beans, broccoli, and all kinds of salads.

Then there was dessert - pavlova, tiramisu, Christmas pudding, chocolate eclairs, mountains of cream, Christmas cake, fresh fruit, and cheese.

The bar opened at 2pm, for people to grab drinks before lunch, including special Antarctic edition bottles of Moa beer.

Mr Thorn said a good thing about working as a chef at Scott Base was the logistics support they got - like the arrival of fresh berries on an airbus at 6.30am on Sunday.

Nelson men Phil Robinson, a pilot contracted to Helicopters New Zealand, and David Lewis, an aircraft engineer, were at Scott Base to enjoy the Kiwi celebrations.

Mr Robinson, 53, and Mr Lewis, 67, have been working on the Ice for a combined 30 seasons, and are based at the Italian research base at Terra Nova Bay this summer.

They were stuck at Scott Base on Sunday due to poor visibility, and Mr Robinson said joining about 50 others for Christmas dinner "felt like home".

Mr Lewis, who is doing his 20th season on the Ice, said: "They go to great lengths to make a pretty decent meal."

Santa dropped in to hand out presents, ranging from electric socks to boxer briefs adorned with fur.

He was more than happy to allow woman to sit on his knee for extended periods of time, but men were not invited.

The Nelson Mail