International Polar Foundation - © International Polar Foundation

in News

The Wind brings in Newcomers…

Utsteinen, 18th November 2009 - Once again, the weather was beautiful: blue skies, sunny, and no wind. However, Alain told us it wouldn't stay like this for long, and that by Thursday the weather would get worse and we'd get some strong winds. It's pretty unbelievable to look outside the window and see the mountains glistening in the horizon. But enough with getting lost in the grandeur of the scenery; Alain is gently reminding us that we have to get to work. René, Pierre and Serge are really busy setting up the bivouac, because next week we'll have to get out of the station once the work begins. Tomorrow, we're expecting a Basler with more team members and material.

Elire, Seb and Swa are busy connecting the air conduits to the Gensets. But apparently they had to stop since they could only find half the material they needed. The mechanics (Kristof and I) have been servicing the Prinoth 4 for the last 3 days on which both its treads have to be removed so the suspension can be checked and oiled. It's hardly a light task if you keep in mind just one of the treads weighs 900 kg. In the evening we get to enjoy the delicious food that Christine has cooked for us once again.

Bad Weather Today

Utsteinen, 19th November 2009 - The flight from Cape Town to the Novo airbase has been postponed until tonight because of the bad weather; we expect the Basler DC3 by tomorrow in the late afternoon at the earliest. The weather might get worse again, even here at the base camp. We've already started feeling it. With 30km/h winds and a temperature of -15°C, the wind chill makes it feel like -26°C, and so most people have been dressing a little warmer. These temperatures get to us, and some of us - myself included - are a lot more tired than usual, so we'll go to sleep early tonight.

The works on the bivouac are going well and some of us - including Marc, the electrician for whom it is the first time in Antarctica - have moved to their tents already. They want to experience harsh polar conditions to the fullest.

The mechanics have retrieved some equipment from the workshop to be able to finish servicing the vehicles in the garage despite the weather conditions. After a good meal, René Robert entertains everyone with some of his stories of his adventures in the mountains. Everybody's laughing until it comes time to do the dishes...

The Arrival of the Newcomers

Utsteinen, 20th November 2009 - Today, around 12:30 pm, the Twin Otter landed at Utsteinen, bringing six new team members. We had a few moments to share some news before we had to get back to work. Apparently, the Basler DC3 broke down, and no cargo will be transported in the next few days. We'll have to be patient until the next re-supply comes.

During dinner, Alain gave a welcome speech for the newcomers. He told them about the dangers and habits of life in Antarctica, as well as the tasks within the Utsteinen community. In my opinion, it was his best and most complete briefing to date. I'm a little curious to see how well his wise advice will be followed...

A Sunday at Utsteinen

Utsteinen, 22nd November 2009 - I skipped my report for yesterday since nothing major happened. Everybody is busy with what can be expected of him: the joiner is making furniture, the electricians are trying to find their way through the spaghetti of electric cables, multiple task workers are trying to help out where they can, and the mechanics are servicing the vehicles and generators. The Hiab Crane for the Prinoth 4 is mounted, but still needs to be wired up. The chef prepares the food, and for some of us, it takes a little time to get used to the French way of cooking and dining.

There's not much going on today. People are "free", which means we can take the time to wash properly and/or sleep, read a book, e-mail, talk on the phone - just relax basically. This is no weather to be outside in anyway. There are heavy clouds and winds of +/- 60km/hr with temperatures of -10°C, with the wind chill makes it feel like -23°C. In the storage rooms, the temperature is -12°C. We won't be walking around much today.

Despite the bad weather, we're expecting a Basler DC3 with cargo today. These pilots are insane!

At 5:00 pm, the weather improved. By the late afternoon, some are taking the chance to go for a walk behind Utsteinen Nunatak. As the weather cleared up we were able to get some nice views against the background of the mountains. We're still awaiting the Basler...

Jesko Kaczynski

Author: IPF

Picture: International Polar Foundation - © International Polar Foundation

Press Officer

Journalists and other press members can get in touch with our press officer for pictures, interview requests or other material.