By Hugues Goosse

There is no permanent inhabitant in Antarctica. The majority of the visitors comes during summer. Some scientists spend the whole winter in stations but they rarely stay more than one year.

Consequently, there is no village, no supermarket, no shopping mall. All the goods must be transported from lower latitudes by plane or by boat (in particular for the most heavy ones). It also means that if you forget something or if you need something very specific that is not available in the station, the delivery may take some time.

Imagine you want some strawberries but this is not part of the stock at the station. You can look for the closest greengrocer in your favourite search engine on internet and check the distance. Of course, the same exercise can be done with any other product of your choice.

There are a few small islands North of the Princess Elisabeth Station like Bouvet Island, which is only at 2100 km, but they are not famous for their shopping options. The South Orkney Islands, at 3000 km, have according to Wikipedia a population of approximatively 55 in summer and 14 in winter but again this corresponds to scientists in research stations.

Australia is really far away. Kerguelen Island is at 3400 km. However, I was not able to find a nice shop there on the web. The Falklands is maybe a better option but the distance is still around 3800 km. Ushuaia in Argentina is at 4000 km. Finally, Cape Town in South Africa is at a distance of 4200 km. So, in any case, it is better to plan well the packing before you leave!

Image F. Klein.