While the world grapples with unrelenting pandemic stress, Tim Bayer is on an adventure of a lifetime, without needing to worry about social distancing, wearing masks or otherwise worrying about catching the coronavirus.
Tim is hunkered down in the Antarctic, at Mawson Research Station.
He arrived on the icy continent in March 2021, and getting there was an adventure in itself.
The expeditioners left Hobart by ship in the first week of February, with a stop of at Davis Station for a resupply. Around 100 miles out of Mawson, the icebreaker was unable to get in, and the expeditioners, or 'winterers' as they are called, had to be flown in by helicopter, which meant many of the supplies couldn't get to Mawson.
At the time of writing, eight tonnes of cargo is being airdropped from a Boeing C-17, the biggest airdrop in Australian Antarcitic history, Tim says.
A lot of that, one imagines, would be food. Although fresh food is impossible to come by in the Antarctic, Tim describes the food as amazing.
"There's not much to complain about," he says.
Fuel, an essential at Mawson for various reasons, not least of which is to keep the winterers warm, was one of the things unable to delivered at the initial resupply.
"We had big restrictions on energy usage. The buildings have been turned down temperature wise, and some buildings 'winterised' to save fuel," Tim says. 'Winterising' is lowering the temperatures inside the buildings to conserve fuel.
Tim, from Taree on the NWE Mid-North Coast, is there as a carpenter, to carry out renovations and repairs.
It's not an easy process to be chosen by the Australian Anarctic Division to be one of the few who get to work at Mawson Station. Tim had applied twice before; the first time he was unsuccessful, and the second time he was given reserve status, but didn't get to go.
The third time was the charm, he says.
Even given the lack of supplies, he's still not complaining, and says it's the adventure of being there that he loves the best.
"It's being somewhere that very few people have the opportunity to go and see things that few people have the opportunity to see. It's the pristine environment - there's no pollution; the wide open spaces are a sight to see. The expanse of ice is pretty amazing.
Tim says that most nights the sky is clear and there would "more than likely" be an aurora.
Then there are the outings. Just last weekend, Tim and other winterers took a trip to the Auster emperor penguin rookery, where chicks had recently hatched and were being looked after by their fathers while there mothers were off seeking food.
They've endured the dark of winter, when the sun never rises. Now the winter has passed, the days are going from 'twilight' to what Tim says are "regular hours".
The winterers will be leaving Mawson for Hobart in February 2022.
Learn more about life at Mawson Research Station here.