All Antarctic activities are subjected to the law of the elements. This is even truer this season than during the previous ones. Besides the poor weather conditions we had upon arrival at the Princess Elisabeth Station, we just had five days of non-stop blizzard following the BELISSIMA expedition.
Although the weather was supposed to clear up, the situation remained the same, blocking all planes on the ground. These meteorological uncertainties not only perturb our daily life, they also put all expedition members under stress. So much those who should have gone home for Christmas to celebrate with their families, as those eagerly waiting in Cape Town.
The cargo, however, is a different thing altogether, and we received rather good news from the Mary Arctica, which has just re-supplied the Norwegians at Troll Station. The icebreaker, which is currently on its way to Crown Bay, should arrive on December 23rd around midnight with all our material and the two helicopters for the German geologists.
While the poor weather conditions have slowed down the preparations for the offloading, everything will have to be ready for the operations which have to be done in one shot. The reason for this is that the katabatic winds could disrupt the offloading zone, leading to the cancellation of the offloading operations.
Still Struggling with the Snow
In Utsteinen, we are never done with clearing the snow that accumulates in front of the garages. At the same time, we are rushing to prepare the Prinoths and furnish the mobile accommodation units for the German scientists who will stay at the coast.
At the time of writing these lines, the sky was slowly opening up and the wind set… the beginning of better weather? We sure hope so.
Picture: Snow accumulation around the station's solar panels - © International Polar Foundation