12 FEBRUARY 2009

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander was so keen to share the details of a recent visit to Antarctica he set up an online blog on the Dutch monarchy's official site. The 41-year-old royal posted daily updates about his adventures at the bottom of the globe with his wife Crown Princess Maxima.

"Setting up a tent against winds well over 100 kilometres per hour is a little different from what we are accustomed to," wrote the Dutch heir after he and his Argentinean wife had experienced first hand what it was like to try and put up a tent out in the open. "You see almost nothing and have almost no control over your fingers because of the thick gloves you're wearing."

The royal couple were guests at the British Antarctic Survey's Rothera Research Station base, on Adelaide Island, off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Dutch scientists have spent the last two decades there researching climate change.

Highlights of the four day visit included a trip to Tyndall glacier on the southernmost tip of Chile, where the couple were shown the fossilised remains of an ichthyosaurus - a prehistoric marine creature which lived more than 120 million years ago.

They got to experience the day-to-day life of the scientists, too, which stirred up memories for the Dutch prince "The base has reminded me of my time in the Navy where there was also an atmosphere of respect towards contribution," he wrote.

"As soon as we arrived we enjoyed a typical English breakfast with eggs, sausages and beans, which immediately took me back to my days as a student at Atlantic College (in Wales). There's no doubt we're in a British base!"

Not every aspect of their stay was familiar to Willem, though. "Sleeping is difficult due to the permanent daylight and because the princess and I are feeling enormously emotional to be in Antarctica," he revealed.

Photo: Rex
To share the couple's experience at the British Antarctic Survey's research station Willem posted a special blog on the royal family's official website. In it he revealed the food at the base reminded him of his stint as a student at Wales' Atlantic College
Photo: Rex
In it he recounted his experiences with Princess Maxima during their four days with scientists based there. "The princess and I are feeling enormously emotional to be in Antarctica," he revealed in one entry
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