Sitting in my office, hammering away at the medical inventory database, my main project these days, Atle suddenly knocked on the door. This is not unusual. Unusual, though, was the stranger following him into the room. Startled, I quickly turned down the early 70's german psychedelic music klinging and klonging through the sickbay, and feebly tried to rearrange the heap of non-medical articles and empty coffecups looming on my desk.
People don't just drop in on an Antarctic station.
The night before we had seen "The Thing", the quintessential Antarctic movie, about a shapeshifting bodysnatching mutant-alien invading an American base on the ice. The classic opening scene involves a crazy Norwegian helicopter pilot, chasing a dog (the thing!) into the station, waving his gun at Kurt Russell while shouting incomprehensible threats in anglo-norwegian, before getting shot in self-defense.
Helicopter. Luckily - not Norwegian, and not chasing a dog.
Flamethrower not called for.
17 South Africans had suddenly decided to pay us a visit, by helicopter, from their own SANAE station. Reason for visit was to pick up some equipment, but the 4 crewmenbers weren't able to find room enough to bring the crates home, because of the 13 tag-along visitors, all keen to expand their antarctic horizons. Because of this incident, they left after just 30 minutes, and had to return the following day.
Good for us, as we could then get mentally prepared.
(The stranger turned out to be the doctor at SANAE base, actually a very nice fellow - see link above)
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