Cape Town, 01/27/2009,
Our flight to Antarctica has been delayed due to bad weather conditions. The weather has drastically changed the past days, with reported temperatures as low as -30°C and heavy wind. The pilot is waiting for better conditions to leave, probably tomorrow. We will have a confirmation at 7 pm today.
During a meeting with the ALCI (Antarctic Logistics Center International) yesterday, we were briefed on the specific procedures to follow before, during and after the flight to Antarctica. For instance, we have to change from our light clothing to the Antarctica outfit during the flight.
The first lap is to the Norwegian station (NOVO) and takes some 6 hours aboard a Russian Ilyushin plane at a cruising speed of 850 km/h. The flights preferably take place at night. According to the pilot there’s less resistance during nighttime, which generally results in a journey shortened by about an hour. There’s a possibility we will fly during daytime though. After landing we head for the NOVO station on snow scooters.
Depending on the weather, we will continue to Utsteinen, where the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica station is located, on board a Basler BT-67. This flight takes about 2 hours at a cruising speed of 200-300 km/h.
Michel de Wouters of the IPF lives in Cape Town and knows the city like the back of his hand. To kill time, he organized a few excursions: Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope, a penguin-spotting tour… We had lovely weather since our arrival but today it’s coming down in buckets. Maybe there’s a connection with the bad weather on Antarctica.
After the initial confusion at Brussels Airport, where we had problems checking in our luggage due to a misunderstanding about the maximum permitted weight and had to rush to get through passport control minutes before the closing of the gate, our 15-hour trip to Cape Town went very well.
The next message will be one from the White Continent!