Poor weather saves the bubble – by Brian Newham
There has been a fair amount to do since we arrived at Princess Elisabeth Station as we prepare for our departure. It’s part of the transitional period and I think we are all coming to terms with the reality that it is now so nearly over. We have had a slight reprieve as the Belgians were due to arrive in the next day or two but poor weather has delayed the start of the season’s flying operations in this corner of the Antarctic. The forecast looks more favourable next week and the revised plan has them arriving here on the 14th. That will be the moment that the bubble bursts, but in the meantime we will enjoy the final days of solitude before being catapulted into Cape Town and a sensory overload. Arrival in Cape Town on the 21st is still written large on our calendar.
Before that happens we still have a bit more work to do as we sort and pack our equipment. Much of our equipment will be staying with the research scientists who will be able to make good use of it in supporting the many scientific projects which are based either at PE Station or in the surrounding area. It’s nice to know that it will be well used and will continue to benefit the scientific community. What’s not of use to them, along with all our waste, which we have carried with us throughout our journey, will be leaving the continent on a ship which is scheduled to arrive in January – it’s simply not possible to get a ship here earlier than that because of the winter sea-ice. Some equipment will be returned to the UK to go back to our sponsors.
Whilst it’s a busy time we are enjoying our position. Beautiful mountains surround us and a few days of poor weather have left them dusted in fresh snow. It’s a very pleasing place to wait and reflect.