After unloading all of our gear from the ship on Dec 26th, on Dec 27th the we left the ship to head inland. It was an exciting experience being hoisted up to the ice shelf by crane.
Once on the ice shelf we finished organizing the sleds, sleeping modules, and snowmobiles, and then headed inland towards the South African research station (SANAE IV). This station from the edge of the ice shelf is approximately 185 km or 115 miles. That is quite the distance to travel on a snowmobile exposed to Antarctic weather!
This was the first trip with all of our transportation, and it gave us a chance to see how the snowmobiles handled pulling the sleds and sleeping modules. And also how we handled a very long day driving snowmobiles across the ice, with stops for food (dehydrated meals).
Sarah Sams (left) and Jenny Newall (right)
Our convoy went well, but the weather forecast showed a storm coming in. So we drove a long day to make sure we got to SANAE before the weather changed. With the clouds coming in and visibility dropping, our convoy arrived safely at the base. A few hours later at the station, horizontal snow resulted in whiteout conditions. The snow was blowing unforgivably with a wind chill temperature of zero degrees Fahrenheit, or negative eighteen degrees Celsius!
Antarctic storm at SANAE just a few hours after arriving safely!