The Journey Home Begins…
Princess Elisabeth Antarctica's systems are now in winter mode, following the team's departure on February 25, bringing to the successful 2013-2014 research season to a close.
Despite heavy winds and considerable snow accumulation in the Sor Rondane area at the beginning of the season, the station team has successfully managed to fulfil 100% of its agenda for supporting scientific projects in the field.
Both Belgian and international scientists who worked at the station this year reported that they were delighted with both the flexibility and quality of support the International Polar Foundation was able to provide them in the field as well as at the station. This is only possible thanks to the unique private/public partnership created to manage the station and logistical operations.
As the station's operator, the fact that the station is almost fully booked for next season is the best reward the Foundation could hope for.
Maintenance operations scheduled at the station for this year were also completed, save for a problem with two of our wind turbines which will not be operational due to parts that couldn't be delivered this season. Regardless, the work that was done on the solar panels this year will guarantee that the station makes the most of the available solar energy. Displacing solar panels to prevent snow accumulation and the work done to optimise their performance will pay off during the winter, at least until the polar night arrives.
The systems are all fully functional. Being able to control the station remotely allowed us to take a "selfie" of our plane (see above) as it left the station, using the camera on the station tower.
Our field guides and doctors celebrated the station's seventh operational season without a single accident or serious injury. When taking into account the unforgiving conditions of Antarctica and the number of people at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica during those sven years, this is something we at the International Polar Foundation are especially proud of!
Both the station team and the communication team in Brussels hope you've enjoyed our sharing of Antarctic experience this season. But mark your diaries, we shall return next season!
Picture: Our plane taking off from Utsteinen - © International Polar Foundation