This update should start off with a big yawn, because it came to us around 3:30 AM local time. The teams made it to Antarctica and after a late (or perhaps we should say early) arrival around 12:30 AM. Soon after they had a nice meal (lamb stew, rice and veggies), set up tents and are now getting some much longed-for sleep.
Todays update from the team included several photos from their brief stay in Punta Arenas (see below). They also reported that their flight was on schedule (that is, the new schedule) and that they were just getting ready to depart for Antarctica.
Happy New Year and welcome to our 2017 South Pole Last Degree and Vinson expedition blog! The team has gathered in Punta Arenas, Chile and all are doing well.
Tonight everyone one gathered at the Shackleton Bar, named for famed Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, for a kick off welcome reception. After months of planning and preparations it was a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and share the anticipation.
With only a few days until our South Pole Last Degree and South Pole/ Vinson Combo teams arrive in Punta Arenas there is much excitement in the air. Bags are packed, the guides have started their commute to Punta Arenas, and soon the expedition will begin! We are very excited to meet everyone in Punta Arenas and get this show on the road!
We hope that you will check back in on January 1 for the kick off of this expedition blog! See you again soon!
The team has had another unbelievably beautiful day at The Oasis. The whole group went out for another, more extensive hike around the ice shelf that now has a waterfall coming right out from under it. Meltwater above the shelf has formed into a small river and made it's way down through the ice to form the waterfall.
After the hike, the team had their last of several celebratory dinners with Russian dumplings and champagne toasts.
The team is gathering at 10:30pm to make the transfer to the runway for a midnight flight back to Capetown, where the adventure will be complete.
Today our team reports that they are back at the Oasis enjoying the warm temperatures and comforts of home. In the day and a half since they have left the Oasis it has changed dramatically. Unseasonably warm temperatures are melting the snow and ice quickly. Several of the places where the group hiked only days ago are now rivers. And on the drive from the runway to their basecamp the trucks got stuck several times in soupy slush.
Today the group had a late breakfast at the refueling station at 83° South followed by their 5.5 hour flight back to the Oasis. They made it back in time for a celebratory dinner of lamb, herring and South African wine which tasted especially good after a couple days of dehydrated meals. The celebration was in honor of reaching the South Pole but also a belated party for Aurelia's birthday. A good time was had by all.
After the party it was time to hit the Banya for some good Suana-ing.
Tomorrow the group plans to take a hike to the edge of the ice shelf before preparing for their departure around midnight.
Enjoy the photos and check back again soon for another update!