jeudi 7 janvier 2010

7th January

Thursday 7th January

Dear all,

Though the weather is very nice and hot in Cape Town, it is quite bad in Antarctica and we could not leave today, nor tomorrow.

Today we had a meeting in the ALCI office concerning the transportation of the
BELDIVA group and their work in the Schirmacher Oasis.

The participants were Vasily Kaliazin (ALCI), Oleg Sakharov (operation manager ALCI), Josef Elster (USB, BELDIVA group) and myself.

Josef was especially pleased to meet Oleg, who was a overwintering chief of the Russian Bellingshausen Station on King George Island (South Shetland Islands). Josef visited the Bellingshausen Station in 1997 and 2004, and thus they had shared memories.

We informed ALCI about our plans. On the 9th January 2010, we will fly together with all
the other Belgians to Troll and then to PES. We will stay at the Princess Elisabeth and the region around the Station till the 30th January. At that date, Elie, Steven, Josef and myself will fly to Novo (the Russian airstrip). The airstrip is about 10 kms from the Russian scientific station, Novolazarevskaya, which is in the Schirmacher Oasis. We will work there till the 11th February, when we will take the flight back to Cape Town.

I was wondering if we will be able to carry out an air filtration experiment during our stay at the Russian station. I was pleased to hear from Vasily and Oleg that this will be possible. Indeed, the area where the meteorological instruments are installed (~100 m from a station) has a 220V plug. The precise organisation of the experiment will be discussed with the personnel of the station. I will communicate with Alexander Mangold (Meteorological Institute of Belgium) who is also involved in this experiment and wanted to send us some special quartz filters. Maybe that we can ask if somebody can bring them, at the following trip from Belgium to Antarctica?
There remained the problem of the filtration pump, that we have sent from Belgium and is among the equipment that will go on the plane with us. We decided that the best was to bring it from the Princess Elisabeth station with us to Novolazarevskaya. When we leave, we will organize with the chief of the Novo basis, its coming back to Princess Elisabeth station. An important information is the weight, because the cargo of the Bassler is limited. But there is no worry, as the pump should only weight about 12 kg.

Vasily and Oleg ask to know our plans in advance, so that they could make the necessary arrangements. It is very nice to hear that they will help us as much as they can.

Best wishes,


PS. Latest news: On the 8th January, we will drop our luggage at ALCI, to include in the cargo of the Illiouchin. This contains all our things, except a set of warm clothes. The later will be taken in another hand bag in the plane, so that we could change in the plane. Indeed, we will start the trip from Cape Town in tee-shirt! On the 9th January at 5.30, we will leave the hotel to go to the airport. The plane will leave at 8.00.

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