The BELISSIMA team on its way - © International Polar Foundation - RenĂ© Robert

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The Scientists have Left for the Coast

On Friday, November 26th, the team of glaciologists from BELISSIMA has left the Princess Elisabeth Station for the coast: the trip will take about 20 hours to complete. The convoy consisted of two Prinoths, each pulling along three sledges (one sleeping container, the scientific material, the ski-doo’s, and the fuel reserves). Alain (Hubert) and René (Robert) took the lead, followed by Sanne (Bosteels), the field guide in charge of the scientists’ security.

Once they arrived, the team split into two groups: one consisting of Frank Pattyn (ULB) and Kenichi Matsuoka (University of Washington), to study the thickness of the ice by radar; and the other one with Jean-Louis Tison (ULB), Bryn Hubbard (Aberystwyth University), Marie Dierckx (ULB) and Thierry Boereboom (ULB), which will study the movement of the ice through beaconing and doing several drillings to bring back some ice cores.

Meanwhile, at the station, there are only eleven people left. Once the effervescence and the tension before departure subsided, tranquility returned to the station. The days are full, at 7am, the team has breakfast, before setting to work around 8.30am. Kristof (Soete) and Jesko (Kaczynski) are in charge of the maintenance of the vehicles and of the landing strip, while Jacques (Touchette) and François (Tilmans) do some general work (joinery, installing a toilet, etc.) at the station.

Wim (Deschepper), on his side, works on the Water Treatment Unit with bacterial culture. Karel (Moerman) does any modifications needed on the electric cables and on the satellite dish to be able to communicate with Novolazarevskaya. Bernard (Polet) has the big responsibility of the water, thanks to which the team can drink, shower, and have all the other commodities they are used to.

Erik (Verhagen), Marc (Locht), and Michel (Lejeune), take care of the wind turbines. This task is physically challenging, because they have to lay down the wind turbines with a cable, before pulling them back up again. Around 1pm, cook Grégory (Janssens) offers the team a buffet. After the comforting cup of coffee or a little siesta, the team gets back to work. When the day’s over, the team meets around a good meal shared in a joyous and easy-going atmosphere.

Author: IPF

Picture: The BELISSIMA team on its way - © International Polar Foundation - RenĂ© Robert

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