*This article was originally post by our partners at Polar Research Secretariat. See the original post here.
As often before long journeys, there was little or no sleep. Andreas and Fredrik traveled from Gothenburg, Håkan and Calle from Stockholm. Jon and Sarah traveled from Chicago in the United States. Jenny traveled from Scotland and Robin from Stockholm, one day earlier than all of us.
The first worry, getting rid of luggage, turned out to be unjustified to all persons, and the luggage arrived according to plan. Through our care, Belinda's care, we were picked up at the airport. Here was the first small mishap. Jenny and Robin signed up for a driver with a sign as Belinda stood on and the driver helped them to the garage and a super luxury car. With great helpfulness, all luggage was loaded and the driver's manager called and wondered where he was. It was not our Belinda driver, but he kindly offered to help carry all luggage back to the arrival hall. A promise broken at the same moment A very angry boss called for the second time.
Our two days in Cape Town were spent with additional purchases, planning and meetings prior to the flight. Even the flight from Cape Town to the Norwegian research station Troll went according to plan. Here were dear reunions with Karin, Mats-Ola, Sven and other old friends and colleagues. We spent three days at Troll in splendid weather, waiting for a trip with the helicopters from the SA Aguhlas II ship in Pingvin Bay.
Cargo being secured on the S.A. Agulhas II.
On Thursday evening, it was finally time. At 18.54, the first helicopter landed and we were ready with all luggage at the landing station that the Norwegians prepared with flags and everything. Thirty minutes after schedule, the first helicopter appeared. It turned out that the South African pilots had wrong coordinates and missing maps so they had to fly around and look for us.
It became a stuffy helicopter with luggage plus Calle, and a helicopter with the rest of us and three South African researchers. All luggage did not fit and time was short for the pilots' working hours, so we left Troll in a hurry with a view to the South African station SANAE IV. Flying over Jutulstraumen - an ice stream with great ice-flow - offered breathtaking views. At SANAE IV, we released the three South African scientists. After a cup of coffee inside the station, we proceeded to the accommodation for awaiting the unloading of our cargo. The next day, the unloading of goods began. Unfortunately, it was not our equipment because it was farther into the cargo space. The next morning, the first convoy started loading with SANAE IV, a 17-hour trip trip, which means that they are back at the earliest in three days.
There was, however, more than just the wait for us. A South African scientist had appendicitis and the sight was too bad to start helicopter evacuation, so the vessel set off at the German station Neumayer III in hopes of achieving better visibility conditions for the helicopter to start. A couple of hours later, the helicopter lifted, but the ship continued towards the German station to facilitate the return of the helicopter. We almost reached halfway when the helicopter was back on board and we returned to the Gulf of Ping. Fredrik now fills the function as a ship doctor.
Crossing the iceberg between icebergs, seals and penguins is nothing else that is breathtaking. Now we are back at the relocation site. We think the weather looks nice tomorrow so we hope it is for both flights to Troll for pickup luggage, scientific airline reconnaissance and unloading of our equipment.
We live and eat very well and decisions for our immediate future are not in our hands, so we have no choice but to wait.