During the season, team rotations are always important moments, filled with mixed emotions. Part of you feels sad to see people you have worked with for months go, but you are also happy to welcome newcomers.
Departures and Arrivals
Both German scientific teams have now left, that's 16 people in total from both the Alfred Wegener Institute and the BGR. It's going to take a while to get used to not seeing and hearing their helicopters around the station! As far as the IPF team is concerned, project manager Johan Berte, our field guide Benoit and our doctor Jacques Richon are now on their way to Cape Town.
The flight from Novo brought us Jan Schrijvers (our new doctor for the rest of the season), Diego Bunuel and David Geoffrion (Journalists), Denis Lombardi, Elie Verleyen and Alexander Mangold (Belgian Scientists). Welcome aboard guys!
Our German friend from the Alfred Wegener Institute will certainly be back at Princess Elisabeth next year. Their new Basler Polar-6, a plane equipped for aerial surveys, had a small technical problem. Since the equipment needed to repair it could not be shipped to Antarctica before the end of their mission this year, they decided to leave early and to come back in 2012-2013 to finish the job.
Over the years, I have noticed that living and working together for several months in Antarctica really creates strong bonds between people. It also creates a strong link between everyone and the Princess Elisabeth Station itself. People often tell me that they really feel part of a project, part of a small family where everybody has a role to play.
But Princess Elisabeth is unique in that it also forces you to rethink your relationship with energy. We all have to change our habits because the amount of available energy is not infinite. We do not deprive ourselves of anything, but there are priorities and procedures to follow when having unlimited supplies of energy is not the norm anymore. It challenges our usual perspectives, makes us more aware of the impact of our daily activities, and educates us all.
It certainly feels awkward going back to "civilisation", where energy management is not at the center of all things … at least not yet.
Picture: Arrival of the Team members in Novo - © Jan Schrijvers