Jeroen van Wichelen
lundi 2 février 2009
So here we are, in Antarctica, yippie!!!!!! It seemed the plane was never going to stop on the ice, but at least we could get out and walked our first steps on this wonderful isolated outpost of the world. It’s just amazing we got the luck and opportunity to wander and work on this beautiful continent. But at first we couldn’t enjoy it as much as we wanted because we had to take part of the chaos of unloading the plane. The Russians are well equipped here, we sleep in heated 8 persons tents on field beds, we have normal flushed toilets (also heated) with warm water and a nice mess tent with plenty of foods available. We have the company of a selection of British and Norwegian adventurists, that repeated the race of Scott and Amundsen towards the South Pole, now hundred years ago and also of Pascha and Mascha, two fairly tamed Skua’s, my first Antarctic birds to see. Since the weather conditions haven’t improved in Utsteinen, we all have to stay at least 2 more days. As kind of an appetizer, the Russians surprised us with a touristic tour with the snow cat towards a nunatak nearby. We than became fully aware of the exceptional privilege we have to enjoy these landscapes and there are no words for the feelings we exhibits while wandering around on the rocky hillsides. To our surprise there were unfrozen lakes in the valley in front of the nunatak and a careful look on the ground beneath our feet revealed many lichens and even mosses. Cyrille was already thrilled with excitement and was turning stones in look for his precious springtails, but only mites turned up, amazing that these little animals can thrive out here. After a play of cards, we were ready for our first ‘night’ on the ice, tired but so happy!