The End of Quarantine and on to Antarctica!
After 24 days of social isolation in the vicinity of Cape Town and three Covid-19 tests per team member (all came back negative!) the 2020-2021 BELgian Antarctic Research Expedition (BELARE) is ready to begin!
Due to poor landing conditions in Antarctica, the quarantine for the BELARE team in Cape Town was extended until travel was possible. Now that conditions in Antarctica have improved, the BELARE team, comprised of Expedition Leader Alain Hubert and several scientists, has been cleared for travel and are on their way to the Russian Novolazarevskaia (Novo) Station aboard an Illyushin transport plane.
At Novo, the team will tranfser to a flight that will take them on to the first zero emission polar resaerch station, the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica (PEA).
Straight to work
Upon arrival at the station, the team will have to get to work stright away. Their first task will be to head to the hangar (which the BELARE team built two years ago on a local blue ice field), where maintenence vehicles and equipment are stored. The team will use the vehicles to clear away snow that has accumulated in front of the station during the autral winter.
The team will then complete a verification and maintenance check of all the electronic, energy, water production and water treatment systems at the station. This must be done before starting any scientific activities.
Stay tuned for more news from the team once they reach Princess Elisabeth Antarctica!
Picture: One of the BELARE team members takes a COVID-19 test - © International Polar Foundation, Henri Robert