A Welsh chef will enjoy the ultimate white Christmas – on Boaty McBoatface’s maiden voyage to Antarctica.
Steve Carpenter, 49, from Caerphilly, is a cook steward on the exploration ship, officially named RRS Sir David Attenborough.
He will serve Christmas dinner in the winter wonderland setting, but penguins, seals and polar bears are staying off the menu.
Steve said it would be “traditional” and served on Christmas Eve.
The £200m ship, part of the UK government’s polar infrastructure investment programme, is due to return in May or June.
An online poll had suggested the ship be named Boaty McBoatface – but one of its robotic submarines has been given this moniker instead.
Making sure everyone gets a proper Christmas dinner is a big priority for the galley crew, as they celebrate the festive period on the other side of the world.
Being 8,500 miles from home has meant most of the dinner has been prepared in advance.
“We’ve got 10kg of Christmas pud for the crew to consume, 5kg of Christmas cake baked by our baker on board and iced and decorated and through the Christmas period we’ll go through 500 mince pies,” said Steve.
He added that because of the lack of availability of fresh fruit and vegetables on the voyage, they will use frozen sprouts – cooking about 300 for the meal, along with 20kg of roast potatoes and 34kg of stuffing for the 49 people on board.
“It’s another working day for us in the galley, but hopefully we’ll be able to sit down at the end of the meal and enjoy it with everyone,” he said.
The RRS Sir David Attenborough is travelling from Rothera research station on Adelaide Island to Signey Island, where they are due to arrive on Christmas Day and where more scientists will disembark.
Working at sea for the past 25 years, Steve’s had his fair share of far-flung Decembers, several times enjoying a curry Christmas dinner in the Middle East, during his time in the Royal Auxiliary Fleet.
But this year, he will have a guaranteed white Christmas in a place he says, “doesn’t compare to anywhere else”.
“This is my first trip down south. It’s such an amazing opportunity to get down here. It’s an absolutely mind-blowing place.”
Minister for the polar regions, Amanda Milling, said: “This magnificent ship is something everyone across the United Kingdom can take immense pride in. I’d like to wish everyone on board for its maiden voyage a Merry Christmas.”