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Money From the most remote family to the most remote job

13:40  13 february  2018
13:40  13 february  2018 Source:   msn.com

The Arctic is full of toxic mercury, and climate change is going to release it

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Most people would consider Antarctica an isolated location, but to field trainer Chris Long, it's positively buzzing with people and activity.

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The 24-year-old grew up two days' hike from the nearest road at Gorge River, on the South Island's West Coast, with only his sister, mother and father for company.

He's spending this summer working on the world's southernmost continent - nearly 4000 kilometres away from his old home - and says in comparison, Antarctica is almost too crowded.

"There's not really much isolation here. Living on the West Coast, there were only four of us, whereas here at Scott Base, we have like 90 people on base at the moment," he tells Newshub.

"Antarctica is isolated in the fact that if you have an accident, you're a long way from hospital, but definitely West Coast is a lot more isolated than here."

Since leaving Gorge River Mr Long has been constantly travelling. Remarkably, this trip is in fact the third time he's visited the continent, and he says it continually lures him back.

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"[Antarctica is] huge, it's untouched, it's so special. It's definitely one of the most amazing places I've ever seen."

  a man wearing a hat © Newshub. This summer he's working as one of four field trainers at Scott Base, New Zealand's permanent research facility on the ice.

As part of Antarctic field training, Mr Long takes groups of new arrivals away from the safety of Scott Base to a temporary camp site on the Ross Ice Shelf. There they learn how to survive a night in the open on top of ice 200 metres thick, which is floating on the Ross Sea.

"As part of Antarctic field training you have to spend a night camping in a tent in Antarctica," Mr Long says.

"We drive out and put up some tents, make a nice camp kitchen - like a shelter for us - and we sleep in the tents during the night."

And as Mr Long has learned, when the weather changes, it can rapidly become inhospitable and dangerous.

"Our first [field training camp], it was about -40degC in ambient temperature. Include windchill onto that and it was probably -50degC or below - it was really, really cold," Mr Long says.

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"We went to bed and at about 12 o'clock that night, the wind got up… So that triggered alarm bells in our head and we thought, 'Hey, we should get out of here,' because we knew there was a really bad storm coming - like a full-on Antarctic blizzard.

"Had we stayed… we would have been stuck in the tent for two days."

It's that judgement - getting the trainees safely back to base before the storm set in - that has made Mr Long a valuable member of the Antarctica field training team.

So how did he end up in this role?

At Gorge River Mr Long was part of what was dubbed New Zealand's most remote family. He says they grew up without TV or computers, living off the land by hunting and fishing, with a large vegetable garden.

It wasn't long after he left home when he first ended up in Antarctica, working in the kitchen on a Russian icebreaker ship aged just 19. His second trip was with Kiwi cruise company Heritage Expeditions, as a lecturer and driving the inflatable Zodiac boats to take tourists to land.

This is the first time he's lived and worked on the continent itself.

"I've travelled to six different continents and 56 different countries, and Antarctica is the place I always want to come back to the most."

But there is one characteristic of this remote wilderness that doesn't sit well with Mr Long, and it happen quite frequently - blizzards.

"Condition 1 means you can't go out of the building and you might be stuck inside for two or three days if the blizzard goes on," he says.

"As an outdoorsy sort of person, you feel cooped up after a little while."

But the son of New Zealand's most remote family won't stay cooped up for long.

After the sun finally dips below the horizon once more and the summer season comes to an end, Mr Long will be heading out again.

To where? He's not quite sure yet.

"At the moment I don't have any plans. If nothing else comes up, I'll probably go home for two weeks, see my family and then jump on a jet plane and go somewhere," he says.

"Pretty much for six years I haven't stopped. I've just been, 'Go, go, go,' and doing as many crazy adventures as possible."

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