South Shields engineer prepares for journey of a lifetime as he leaves town to work in Antarctica for 18 months

A South Shields engineer is set for the adventure of a lifetime as he prepares to set off to Antarctica for the next 18 months to work at a British research station.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 4:55 am

Joe Clay, 23, from South Shields, will be setting off to the world’s southernmost continent to work as a generator mechanic in the freezing cold temperatures for the British Arctic Survey.

Joe will be in the arctic for 18 months, where he will be tasked with keeping electricity running at his team's base in the Rothera Research Station.

A former student of Mortimer Community College, Joe studied marine engineering at South Shields College and for the last three years has been working out in the North Sea.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Joe Clay, 23 from South Shields

As a keen adventurer, Joe has always dreamed of this kind of challenge and is excited for what the Antarctic journey could bring him.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to go to the hardest places and challenge myself. I applied for this job in Antarctica and for a few months didn’t really think anything of it or expect to hear anything, then all of a sudden I got offered an interview and soon after got the job.”

Joe, who is a brother as well as an uncle to nieces and nephews, is set to return to South Shields in mid 2023 and knows the challenge of missing his family will be difficult, but will provide him with the opportunity of a lifetime.

He added: “I’m really excited and I’m ready to get out there but I know as soon as I step on the plane I’ll be full of nerves.

Joe with his niece Willow.

“It’s going to be one hell of an adventure and it will be difficult missing my family but there’s not many people that can say they’ve gone to Antarctica so I’m grateful to be getting the opportunity.”

Joe is set to leave for the Falkland Islands on December 4, where he will complete two weeks of isolation before heading out to the base in Antarctica.The Rothera Research Station is on the Antarctic Peninsula, located at Rothera Point, Adelaide Island and serves as the capital of the British Antarctic Territory.

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today.

Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters.

Your support for our journalism means we can continue telling South Tyneside’s stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe - and click here to get a snapshot of the Gazette’s news and sport to your inbox through our email newsletters