TWO sailors are going to the top of the world get a taste of life at an Arctic base.
Lieutenant Commander Steven Murphy and Chief Petty Officer Reggie Hammond, from HMS Collingwood in Fareham, are preparing for the three-week ice adventure.
They will be joining the American and Canadian navies where they will help run submarine training exercises under the ice.
But they could also face polar bears, Arctic foxes and temperatures 60 degrees below freezing.
Lt-Cdr Murphy, 43, said: ‘The Americans do regular trips to the pole to develop their own tactics and see how their submarines perform in that environment, and the UK has often joined in with these. There’s obviously a desire to maintain knowledge of working submarines under ice.’
During the trip they will be testing weapons, seeing how new equipment works and conducting scientific experiments.
CPO Hammond, 41, said: ‘I’ve been up there before, but that time I was on the submarine – I’ve never walked on the ice. It will be good to see it from the different perspective.’
Just getting to the base is an adventure in itself.
They have to fly to Seattle, from there to Anchorage in Alaska, and then on to Deadhorse airport, where they take a smaller plane for a two-hour flight.
Although they will spend most of their time at the station, they will have to join field trips to mine ice for fresh water. It’s on these trips they could run into the local wildlife.
Lt-Cdr Murphy said: ‘They do say it’s unlikely, but it’s not impossible.
‘If we were to meet one then shooting it is the last resort, but they aren’t afraid of anything.’