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Live from Antarctica: January 13th

After one night at Troll station, the BELARE relief team arrived at Utsteinen late in the evening of the 9th of January. The team of ten included 5 Army personnel, two cooks, one mountain guide, one ventilation expert, and the Station Manager.

The flight left with 7 people. They spent the night at Novo, before flying early in the morning to Troll Airbase to take the Ilyushin back to Cape Town. The group returning included two Army mechanics and their commanding officer, one cook, a photographer, a Laborelec senior executive, and a member of the building services team.

The relief team very rapidly settled in. The briefing sessions began first with the traverse team, then the construction teams and, finally, the catering team. The two new cooks were so taken up with enthusiasm that they did not sleep for over 48 hours to make sure everyone was fed and watered adequately.

At present in the Base Camp we have 34 people under canvas. Everyone has settled in remarkably fast and the camp is humming with activity.

One traverse has already started for the coast and will be back by five tomorrow morning. There are only two traverses remaining to carry out before all the construction material and furniture is back at the station. This is way ahead of schedule. Future traverses will concentrate only on bringing in the fuel needed to carry out the scientific campaigns of this year and next.

The weather held up for the weekend but has now become windy, with low visibility. The teams continue their work which is, for the most part, inside except for that of Frank Vercouillie. He is still trying to fix the 4th Prinoth tractor, which is sitting forlorn outside the hangar. He has worked wonders and the only thing left to do now is put back the caterpillar track. The patient will then be as good as new.

Meanwhile, the Ivan Papanin is on its way back to Cape Town with the Census for Antarctic Marine Life (CAML) team. They have encountered a somewhat large storm, but expect to make landfall on the morning of the 14th of January.

Nighat Amin

Author: IPF

Picture: International Polar Foundation - © International Polar Foundation

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