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Two Kiwi Drillers

OFFSHORE NEW HARBOR CAMP, ANTARCTICA– To me the cornerstone of any true friendship is the belief in someone’s integrity. Sometimes I will go years without gaining a true friend. Other times, I’ll just get lucky and stumble upon a few God-sent souls that say what they mean, mean what they say, and do what they’ve said they’re gonna. Of all the wonderful things I’ve gained from this trip, I can say that it’s a handful of new wonderful friends that I find most valuable. You never know who might show you kindness and sincerity. You can never tell who might laugh at one of your own twisted jokes.

I’d never have guessed that two Kiwi drillers might befriend an opinionated American geologist like myself. Sure they talk funny. Some may say they’re rough around the edges. But, they suit me just fine. As a matter of fact, I quite adore them.

Steffan Colls on the sea ice.

Steffan Colls seems acutely aware of the power of his smile. He uses it often. He tried it out on me in our first meeting. I’m not easily wooed by such things. It was his frankness that caught my attention and has held it ever since. Communication with Steffan is rather easy. You don’t even have to ask him what he thinks. He is keen to tell you and does so at will. He is astute in his observations of others and keen to tell them as well. Ultimately, he is a family man. He is a wonderful listener and loyal friend with a heart of gold.

Kyle washing his laundry Antarctica field camp style.

Kyle Webster tries desperately to remain expressionless but ultimately always fails. It’s his eyes that tell the details of his every thought and betray his every emotion. He hides his shyness behind a rugged driller’s exterior decorated with random colorful profanities and a love of rum. But, his kindness is blaringly apparent and his consideration of others is ever present. Kyle is a thinker, a reader, a doer. He is always up for a good challenge of all sorts, be it mental, physical, or, preferably, both.

A backgammon game Kyle made because I said I was bored (and kept beating him at the computerized version).

Both men can tell a good joke and laugh at one too. They are mechanically savvy and hardworking. I always wonder about people with the mechanical skills they have. Did they take things apart as children? Somehow they are able to take apart, reassemble, and operate all that is required to keep their drill operating. They are pivotal to the success of our team when out on the line drilling into the ice or here in camp keeping spirits high.

The drill rig in front of the Ferrar Valley.
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