The report from the ice today is that everyone was ready to fly to the South Pole. Bags were packed and they were just about to head to the runway when news came in that weather at the refueling station, located near 83 degrees South. was not suitable for landing. This was not entirely unexpected. They knew that the weather was somewhat fickle.
By all accounts it was a beautiful day to be in Antarctica, and the second half of our team (Alan, Yann, Sebastien and Dirk) successfully made the trip to the penguin colony at Atka Bay. The sky was clear and there was a light breeze. They flew along the edge of the ice shelf over the sea where they were treated to exceptional views.
Back at the Oasis Charles, Aurelia, Gwendal and Vlado went on an excursions to a beautiful glacial wall near Novolazarevskaya Station and basked in the warm Antarctic sun.
After dinner which celebrated the penguins everyone had a Banya (Russian sauna) to refresh and think about the anticipated trip to the South Pole tomorrow.
The team woke early for an excursion to the Emperor Penguin colony, but the flight ended up being delayed for several hours. Eventually, after the delay had been sorted out, half of the team made the flight to the penguin colony and had the chance to explore around for an hour and a half. At this time of year, the chicks are very large, but still easily recognizable by their thick grey downy feathers. The other half of the team went to explore the nearby ice caves. Warm temperatures have caused the commonly empty cave to have a river rushing through it, but they still had an amazing hike on the ice shelf.
It was a beautiful day today in Antarctica. Not a cloud in the sky and very comfortable temperatures. The group spent the afternoon exploring ice caves at the base of a mountain glacier. In the morning they flew kites. The plan for tomorrow is in flux pending a few logistical considerations. We will keep you posted.
The team is staying in an area known as the Schirmacher Oasis. This is a 25 m by 3 km ice free area (hence the name "Oasis") that has roughly 100 freshwater lakes. It is named after the German pilot who first spotted the oasis while surveying Antarctica by air. It it a desert and is remarkably scenic. We are hoping to post some larger pictures so check back again soon for another update from this South Pole Flight expedition. And stay tuned for our next expedition, the South Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition.
The team has touched down in Antarctica!
The 6-hour flight was smooth and conditions were cloudy but calm when the plane touched down. From the runway, the team was transferred 12km to The Oasis for a nice lunch. They had time to settle into their accommodations before going for a hike to see the ice shelf.
Everyone is in great spirits and settled in after a nice dinner. If the weather improves tomorrow, the team plans to go see the ice cave near base camp.