Coffee Machine - Copyright: Alain Hubert / IPF - © International Polar Foundation

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Live from Antarctica: Dirge for an Old Friend

We were just getting ready to celebrate here jubilee in all her splendour. We had promised the 10,000th cup of coffee would be immortalized. Alas, Lady Saeco, our loyal coffee machine, groaned in pain while she was pouring her 8,782 th cup. Doctors Bernard Polet and Olivier Grasselli spent more than six hours in the operation room, but to no avail. The only remaining option now is to send her home urgently.

The evacuation is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday Feb.28), end of day. Numerous volunteers have suggested accompanying her. While Bernard and Olivier attempt to hide their pain by engaging the 18th traverse, Alain D, Geoffrey, François, Benjamin, Johan, Pascal, Frank, Jesko, Jurgen, Guido, Marc, Benoît and Marc ("Mac") will leave Utsteinen for Cape Town.

Over the past few days, the scaffolding and various elements having helped in the construction have little by little been removed from around the station. The cranes have now folded up permanently and left the building premises. The surroundings are clearing up slowly but surely. As though it had been freed, the Princess Elisabeth station now sparkles in the sunlight, its stainless steel flank reflecting the metal pillars.

Tonight, the courage of Lady Saeco, the departure of half of the team and the dawning of the station's definite appearance deserve to be celebrated in due form. We can already see Geoffrey and Emilie dancing around the kitchen, and we have an inkling (we hope?) that speeches are discretely being composed and that unsuspected bottles will pop out of boxes at the right moment.

Author: IPF

Picture: Coffee Machine - Copyright: Alain Hubert / IPF - © International Polar Foundation

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