For all must say their last goodbye

I was just about to get another cup of coffee when Daniel said the plane would be landing in 15 minutes. Due to bad weather coming in, our flight to Novo had to be moved forward by two days and instead of November 1st, we would now be leaving Neumayer on October 29th. Luckily Lidia, the Basler BT-67 plane from ALCI was scheduled to arrive at Neumayer for a refueling stop anyway that day and they still had enough space to pick us and our baggage up as well. I ran upstairs, threw my suitcases into the elevator and got dressed. Going down, a Pistenbully with a sledge was waiting for us with our stuff already loaded and ready to go. As we started our way to the runway we could see the plane come in from a distance and looking back at station I could see how the alien spaceship was getting smaller and smaller.

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The final countdown

We have been here for over ten months now. It’s hard to believe, but on December 16th, 2016 we boarded the plane to Capetown and a few days later to Antarctica and we have lived and worked on this continent ever since. We have endured temperatures of -44°C and have even filmed in stormy conditions of 45 knots. We have seen the sea ice of Atka Bay break up and refreeze again, the emperor penguins leaving and returning again, mating and laying the egg, breeding and raising their young and now the chicks growing up at a rapid rate. Some of the things we experienced in January like seeing Orcas and Minke whales or filming emperor penguins jumping from the elevated shelf ice into the Weddell sea seem like they happened ages ago.

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A once in a lifetime experience

Last night’s sleep was terrible. With the wind constantly blowing at 60 knots or even more (that’s roughly 120km/h) the entire station is shaking like an airplane during mild turbulence and a lot of things are rattling and squeaking and you can hear the howling wind through the ventilation system. It’s way too loud in order to get a good night’s sleep, so this morning I woke up even more tired than I was before I went to bed. It’s been stormy for a couple of days now and as far as our forecast says, it will continue to be stormy for at least another four days. It’s days/weeks like this when station life really feels like the movie groundhog day. Every day is more or less the same and there are no great experiences from the colony that could spice life up, since we can’t get outside.

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