I can’t believe we are finally there – after sixteen long days in this hotel, we’re finally checking out this afternoon! Our luggage is already on its way to the airport, and in a couple of hours, the rest of us will follow! Polarstern is already in Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, waiting to take us down to the Weddell Sea.
The team from Lufthansa, who has also been in quarantine with us, told (and showed) us everything there is to know about the flight and the Airbus-plane last night. What will happen at the airport (they will open up a closed terminal just for us!), the route, the weather (huge cloud along the coast of Brasile that we will have to circumnavigate ), what it looks like in the cockpit when you land in the Falklands Islands (from when they trained in a simulator) – and what we do if we can’t land in the Falklands…
The presentation was the last one on the schedule – during the last couple of days, the science teams have taken turns to give present themselves and the work they are to do on Polarstern. It’s been interesting to learn about everything from how you sample ice-algae to seal blood and trace metals and how you can measure ice thickness from a helicopter! The scientific program for the expedition is indeed very diverse – and we are all very keen to get started!
But we have a 15.5h flight ahead of us first! The captain had heard about my Ninja-project – and we now both have an invitation to come and join him in the cockpit before we take off! Exciting!
To be locked up alone in a hotel room for more than a week is seriously boring – much tougher than I could ever imagine. I want to walk outside! Talk to real people and not to a computer screen… I’ve no managed to kill six days in this room – only two more to go before we can at least meet the other cruise participants!
What do I do all day? Well, I try to work as much as I can (the Norwegian Research Council kindly provided me with a proposal deadline just after departure, so that keeps me busy), and I brought a ukulele and a skipping rope! So for every 50 minutes of work, I do five minutes of skipping or ten minutes of strumming! No complaints from the neighbors yet!
– and then off course I’ve got Ninja to play with! You can read the start of our story below (or at Flickr).