First arc ! - © International Polar Foundation

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Live From Antarctica: Arc Story

Yesterday, beneath a gloriously blue sky, the first arcs were placed on the station. It was a symbolic moment as the first signs of the exterior form of the station came into place. The mood was festive and light-hearted. The team joked and laughed over the five o'clock hot chocolate. Then, with barely a missed beat, they swung back into action and brought one arc after another into place.

There is a certain euphoria in the air as the rhythm of progress is sustained and the team pulls together like a well oiled machine. Morale is running high but a certain tension prevails as the finishing line begins to become perceptible in the distance.

Talking of well oiled machines, poor Prinoth 1 was carried into camp at 3 30 am this morning looking decidedly incongruous and miserable, and dwarfing the Lehmann sledge on which it was positioned. It resembled a humiliated giant.

The twelfth traverse left this morning with the 3 remaining Prinoths to go and recover another batch of 8 containers from the coast. The team consisted of Didier Goetghebuer, Rene Wagemans, Jesko Kaczynski (or Kazza), fast talking and quip-a-second Vincent Gilliard, Philippe Sohet, and restless new boy Bruno Tyberghien who, for fun, ran up the nunatak and back in under an hour after work, to the bemusement of the rest of the crew.

I worked on the orders for the next flights. Luckily, we can order things on occasion as there are several essential items that need replacing, like steel cutting discs, drill bits and bolts which never made it for whatever reason. Michel and Johan begin to set the procurement machine in motion as we synchronise for the Ilyushin flights.

We will take advantage of the mid February rotation also to order more fresh food from the National Ship Chandlers, who surprised and delighted us with a delivery of fresh apricots, bananas and mangoes on the last flight. The last time I was surprised by a mango was in Resolute Bay when the Bahamian cook at South Camp Inn shipped some in through Yellow Knife.

Geoffroy and Emilie have been spoiling us with special treats of late, including mango sorbet and freshly baked cumin bread (we have fresh bread daily, including sometimes Nepalese fried bread which Manram makes for us when he thinks we deserve it). We've even bought into the frozen yoghurt craze, as we breakfast every morning on delicious frozen yoghurt with tropical fruits from Cape Town. All hopes of returning home slim and tanned are receding.

Author: IPF

Picture: First arc ! - © International Polar Foundation

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