Our short time in Cape Town was spent discussing the upcoming work and rounding up last minute items. On Sunday night, we were told we had the green light to fly to Troll Station on Monday morning. Eager to get on the ice, we finished up packing and were ready to leave the hotel at 5:30 am. The Magic-DML team and other researchers and station staff had a smooth 5.5-hour flight to Troll Station airport. We had amazing views of the sea ice, the ice shelf, the ice sheet, and the mountains as we came in. Several staff from Troll Station greeted the plane on the ice runway.
Sea ice patterns and the edge of the ice shelf. Photo provided by Jon Harbor.
Once at Troll, the team was briefed about the station facilities, safety procedures, and shown to the accommodations (bunkhouse style – warm and cozy). At Troll, the team has been busy organizing field and scientific gear, and supplies – there was some gear and freeze-dried food here from last year’s expedition that we will be using. We have also been taking care of final communications requiring Internet, as it will be unpredictable from here on. As well as, reviewing and finalizing plans for reconnaissance trips once we get helicopter support at the next stage of the expedition. Troll Station has been a great base for us – good food, interesting staff and other researchers, even access to an exercise room, showers, and a sauna! And it provides a first chance to get out on the ice and rock in Antarctica. Some of the team took the opportunity to take a run on the ice to stay in shape and to enjoy the great summer weather. Although it has been pretty windy, the sun has been shining all the time (24 hours of daylight), and temperatures have been moderate (highs just below freezing).
Troll Station, Antarctica. Photo provided by Jon Harbor.
Sleeping quarters for the team. Photo provided by Jon Harbor.
Agulhas II, the ship that has much of our equipment (including the snowmobiles, living modules and sleds) arrived at the ice sheet on Tuesday and unloading starts soon. The team will be leaving Troll and head to the ship. While there, they will be discussing flights with the helicopter pilots, organize the gear that is accessible on the ship, practice sampling and safety with first aid strategies. There s a lot of preparation, organization, and training. We are all excited to be moving closer to the field science stage of the expedition!