Tomorrow (5th dec) I'm joining 2 colleagues (part of the so called "transport team") for the 2.5 day trip down to the ice shelf (roughly 200 km away) The russian cargo ship Ivan Papanin (named after the russian polar explorer) will anchor up directly on the ice in a few days, and the winter team (and next years' scientific expeditions) depend on us getting the cargo to base before the end of summer. Endless stacks of fuel drums, tanks of diesel for the generators, containerloads of food and (hopefully, for me!) some medical supplies, will be towed on sleighs by our most powerful tracked vehicles - basically modified piste bashers.
Not being the most experienced machine-driver yet, my job will be to provide medical backup during the (potentially dangerous) off-loading, ensuring safety procedures are being followed (yeah, right!).
Don't tell anyone, but I'll also look for penguins. This time, proper antarctic ones.
During transport we'll sleep in small huts on the back of the Everests (as the vehicles are called). We'll bring a couple of primuses as backup. At the ice shelf we'll sleep in the ship. If I get tired from audio-books I can practice my russian on the way down.
I'll only be reachable by satelite phone from base while away, but will tell all about it when I'm back. It can take anything from 7-14 days, depending on how secure the interface between land-ice and sea-ice is, how long time we spend offloading, potential breakdowns, and how many penguins I find.
I am norwegian doctor who worked as expedition doc on the Antarctic research station Troll for the summer season 2007-2008. NB: This blog is intended as a personal and ecological account from The Ice Planet - fully independent of the Norwegian Polar Institute, their official web page being: npweb.npolar.no