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The Team Returns from the First Traverse

Tuesday December 8th - It has been almost four weeks now since the station was brought back to life, and work is progressing well, which makes life at the station even more comfortable. Thanks to our wonderful plumber duo Paul and Bernard, we now have running water, which, however normal it may seem, is a luxury in Antarctica! Making a dishwasher - or even better, a washing-machine - work is wonderful when you've had to do without one for a month. Of course, water supplies are limited since it does not fall from the sky or flow out of the ground; it is the result of other people's work and should thus be appreciated as such. Showers are not on the program so far, but we cannot afford to become accustomed to luxury and in the end, our bathroom container is very comfortable and functional.

Last week, Alain, René, Kristof and Jesko left for the coast to check the platform in Crown Bay for the ship, which will arrive with the supplies by the end of December. They were accompanied by three members of the Japanese expedition who wanted to recon the mooring location for their ship. They then left to join their colleagues who had left Utsteinen the day before. Now that our neighbours have left, we're alone again.

On Saturday evening, those who were still up after midnight were able to see the Prinoths coming back to the base from afar. Although I gave in to sleep before they actually made it to Utsteinen, I stayed at the window for a long time, gazing out at this frozen desert that was suddenly inhabited by a friendly presence. Every little thing is important here...

On Sunday we received yet another gift: the wonderful weather allowed us to fully enjoy our weekly day off. Under the supervision of Alain, a team reached the top of Utsteinen's second summit via a new climbing route - another achievement the base's residents can add to their list of personal accomplishments. A second team took the skis to the summit of Teltet, which we crossed before heading back to the station. On a different note, our ULM made its first flight of the season!

Today, the wind is blowing quite fiercely (70 km/h) but the sun is still shining. I wonder if I'll get to see a storm before I leave...

Christine Mattel

Author: IPF

Picture: International Polar Foundation - © International Polar Foundation

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