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

05 Feb 2008

Drop-in visit

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.

Aliens.

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)

1 comment:

Kush (on behalf of Sudhir K.) said...

Dear Oystein,

This is Sudhir calling from Maitri, the Indian station in Antarctica. This world is not only small, but a strange place and Antarctica does wonders in getting people to meet either in person or through the medium of technology. Before coming to Antarctica in November, 2007 I had heard about a few stations in Antarctica in the vicinity of Maitri, Troll being one of them. When I flew in here from Cape Town on November 15, I think there were some Norwegians too on the IL-76 flight. May be you were one of them and we might have seen each other.

My son, Kush, who handles my blog has sent me a few of your entries from your blog. Ironically, I can not access my own or any other blog from Maitri where we do not yet have a full time internet connectivity. However, only last week we have erected our Earth Station for linking with a communication satellite and by April/May we will have full time internet here. However, by that time I will have left. I should be boarding the ship any day now; however the weather is playing truant and the chopper has not able to do its sortie to transport me to the ship. I am going to Larsemann Hill where India is establishing its third station. Subsequently I shall reach India by end March. I find you are interested in Tropical Medicine; who knows this interest of yours may bring you to India some day.

With best wishes for your further stay in Antarctica,

Sudhir
(posted by kush)