The Twin Otter did not take off for us

Av Prof. Per Mller, PhD Nicolaj K.Larsen, Lektor Eric S.Hansen, PhD Henriette C. Linge

Projekt Longterm, Team 2; blogg 2007-08-26

Someone closed the gate last Monday, and suddenly the wind died. We woke up to the clearest blue sky you can imagine. The snow from the storm had covered the Alpine mountains tops at 1000-1500 m in the south in total white, and further down the slopes there was a fantastic graphic effect between snow and bare rock. Later, when the mist rolled in, gravity seemed to have stopped working, and we could see the peaks floating on top of the mist and reaching for the sky.

So, once again it was working weather and we could complete the planned work, meaning moving around in the terrain. The snow storm had created fantastic snow sculptures in the lee of boulders, and some still blooming arctic poppy stuck up the yellow cup through the snow in some places. All animal youngsters seem to gather now as autumn is here; the snow-white arctic hares were seen in large groups of 12-15, both fooling around and eating, and grouse could bee seen in groups of some 20 now quite large chickens and some few adults. During the week we have also had constant visits at the camp of two polar foxes, first fighting over leftovers in our waste pit, and later seen playing, running after each other, laying down on watch, then jumping over each other.

The prescheduled Twin Otter arrived to Station Nord last Thursday afternoon and evacuated team 3, but could not take off for the remaining two teams the day after due to white-out at Nord. Friday night it was time again; the storm hit us with full power, and Saturday morning our kitchen tent gave up, after which the wind died. Full of hopes, we were said to be evacuated in the afternoon. We packed all equipment in our heavy boxes, except our personal tents, and started to carry everything down the original landing strip as the water in the river had sunken dramatically for the last two days. That was an exercise of about 18 km in total for each of us! But of course the Twin Otter did not take off for us; instead it headed for Kap Ole Chiewitz and evacuated team 1, after which it was nighty-nighty for the pilots at 11 o'clock, and we were stuck there with perfect landing weather the whole night. It was still ok at 9 in the morning today, and the plane set off, but that was all to that. As we were carrying our tents and personal equipment over a mudflat toward the strip we heard the plane circulating high above us in the clouds, and then just disappear. The pilots took the decision that it was not possible to land as they saw a snow storm approaching, and right they were. So we just had to put up two tents again on our original camp site here at Constable Bugt, and here we are sitting, the wind roaring and the snow coming parallel along the ground outside. Hopefully we eventually will be picked up, but there are not many hours of weather window permitting the flight operation.
So we are now the four absolutely northernmost people on Earth, and feeling somewhat abandoned.

Will be continued ...


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