First Traverse to the Coast
Utsteinen, December 6th, 2009 - On Thursday, Alain, René, Kristof and I headed to Crown Bay and Breid Bay to do some reconnaissance and prepare the offloading area. We left at 8:00 am for a long trip of 20 hours driving two Prinoths with three sledges attached to each as well as waste containers and fuel. Each Prinoth hauled about 40 tons of materials at a speed of 13 km/h for a distance of 210 km. It was a long trip, but it was worth the while. We saw some wonderful scenery and experienced some interesting meteorological phenomena. A Japanese delegation even came along for the ride. We arrived at Crown Bay around 3:00 am. After a good meal of spaghetti, we went for our sleeping bags to nap for a couple of hours.
On Friday morning, we ate breakfast, did some reconnaissance of the bay, worked a little on the platform (which was in an incredibly good shape) with the Prinoth's gigantic shovel. We had to pay special attention though. There were numerous deep crevasses between the ice sheet and the sea ice. We then unloaded the containers and freed two of them from the snow, which proved to be a serious challenge without doing too much damage. We finished by 8:00 pm and headed to Breid Bay.
On the way to Breid Bay, we drove through a small corridor marked by bamboo poles towards an enormous stretch of ice stretch that stopped abruptly at the sea ice. A 60-metre high ice wall separated the ice shelf from the sea ice; it looked a little like the White Cliffs of Dover, only whiter and colder. This was where the expeditions of 1958 and 2006 offloaded.
Today (Sunday) we have a day off, which means that we can spend some extra time taking care of personal hygiene, wash our socks and take a small trip to round off this Sunday. We went for a pretty tough two-hour climb. When we finally arrived at the top, Alain told us that we were the first to ever use the route we took.
By 9:00 pm, we were back at the base camp enjoying spaghetti that Bernard had prepared for us with love.
Strange Meteorological Phenomena at the Station
Utsteinen, December 10th, 2009 - Slowly but surely, things are getting done: the faucets have been hooked up to water from the snowmelter, the washing machine and dishwasher both work now, and more lights have been installed in the workshop. All the while electricians have been cabling the station.
Around 9:00 pm, we witnessed some interesting meteorological phenomena. Two rainbows appeared in the sky above Utsteinen. To the north, we saw a snowstorm passing by; it's a really amazing thing to witness. Everybody rushed outside to take pictures of it.
Picture: International Polar Foundation - © International Polar Foundation