The last few days have passed in a bit of a blur. Most of the team have been working together for several months; however, having just returned from a year away with the British Antarctic Survey, this weekend provided me with my first opportunity to meet them all in the flesh.

It was with plenty of excitement and some trepidation that I arrived on Friday at Canary Wharf, where it was all hands on deck for the mammoth job of loading the SA Agulhas with all the expedition kit. As with all self-respecting docksides, the place was a hive of activity. Over the last few days tonnes of food and equipment have been packed, enormous Caterpillar D6N bulldozers have been hoisted on board, bucket-loads of fuel loaded, and the final touches made to our lovely cabooses.

Meanwhile there have been visitor tours around the ship, sponsors to meet, and media interviews to do. It’s clear that everybody involved with the expedition has worked incredibly hard over many months to get to this point, and the energy and sense of positivity around the ship is tremendous.

As I write, loading is almost complete, and in two days time the SA Agulhas will set sail for the South, bearing all that we need for the journey ahead. Then we might have a little drink, and I’ll spend the next few weeks getting to know my new family a little better…