ECHO IS NOW OPEN
After three years of planning, 80 tonnes of air cargo and over 1,000 square meters of moulded composite fibreglass – ECHO BASE is a reality. So much effort, so much investment, so many norm-breaking ideas were wrapped up in this new camp that I was anxious it couldn’t live up to our expectations. It represented a totally new forward-looking vision of tourism in Antarctica – it was a lot to live up to.
Then, on 8th December 2022, I opened the door and smiled…
Welcome to Echo
The ‘Cosmos’, our central hub, is formed of four separate rooms all connected by tunnels that look like the docking station to a spaceship. Inside, the ‘sky pods’ are no less futuristic, with vast floor-to-ceiling windows that bring the ageless landscape of Antarctica inside each lounge, bar or dining space. Even in the comfort and warmth of these living areas, I was connected to the environment. Padded walls encircle a delicate Art Deco bar, while an Anthony James art sculpture glows like a giant power source at one end. Walking through the tunnel I discover a library and daybed with someone napping under a cashmere blanket. The sign on the door read ‘Decompression Chamber’.
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White Desert’s space-inspired camp, Echo, opened in December 2022.
More turns through the tunnels and I come into the dining room ( pictured below ). The black dining table made of self-cleaning nanotechnology doubled as a table tennis table before being reset for the evening meal. Beyond the dining room windows, pristine white snow petrels swirl in the up-currents of air, nesting in the cliff face beyond.
Space travel, here on Earth
Inspired by astronauts and used by explorers, ECHO is unique in every way. It feels like you are inhabiting a lunar outpost and any minute now, NASA mission control will crackle through on the radio. Later, as I lay on my bed that night, not closing the curtains to allow the perpetual sun to pass overhead, I realised why the camp felt so appealing. Its minimalistic design and panoramic windows showcase the natural beauty of Antarctica. You never feel disconnected from the wildness outside, and that is truly humbling, especially here.
At Echo, showers are an immersive experience.