OC in Antarctica

The MCOBA hears from OC Eric Randall on his incredible journey since leaving College. Eric has promised to keep us updated as and when the ice shelf allows!

In order for me to explain what I am doing here in Antarctica, I’ll need to explain how I got here first…

I studied meteorology at Tuks after matriculating in 2015. I completed my honours degree in 2019 and after university I completed a one year (2020) internship course at the South African Weather Service (SAWS). After completion of the internship I had qualified to be a full-time forecaster for marine, public and aviation weather. Unfortunately due to Covid I was only able to sign a four month contract with them. This was from December of 2020 to March 2021. After this period I was unemployed for a few months, fortunately I managed to secure myself a job at Virginia Primary School in Durban North (Principle: Mr. Darren de Gouviea-Smith & Vice Principal: Kim Petzer). This helped me get to the end of the year of course.

Whilst working at Virginia I received a whatsapp message via my classmates group from my public weather trainer at SAWS. I applied for the job and evidently got it.

I am now employed as a weather observer for SAWS through the Department of Forestry Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE). It is technically a “step down” from being a forecaster, however I have been forecasting for the ship (SA Agulhas II) at the moment, providing 3-day forecasts daily for the preferred operations. So my skills are not being wasted. And since I was unable to get any other job, this was the best option I had, so I took it.

At the base (SANAE IV) in Antarctica I will be monitoring and observing the weather providing hourly updates for SAWS back at home via the in-house software from SAWS. These observations help with mainly research purposes and to understand potentially how weather in Antarctica affects weather in South Africa. I do plan to put my forecasting skills to the test down here, I’m hoping that it will help with my CV when I get back home. This job is a year long so I will only return to South Africa in late January or early February 2023. 

I will answer any questions if the OC community would like to know any specifics – Obviously due to the lack of signal being in Antarctica and all. If we are near or at the ice shelf the signal drops significantly! I will keep you all updated.

Kind Regards:

Eric Randall