Poor weather prevented the remaining team members from reaching SANAE IV for a few days but yesterday, just before 4 PM GMT (6 PM SAST), Sunet and Karin arrived at the base. Shortly afterwards Jenna, Nicola and Tebogo also arrived. The base will be their home for the next few weeks and all new arrivals have to go through compulsory ‘orientation’, where the year team members – those individuals that have spent the last 13 months in Antartica – take the new arrivals on a guided tour through the base and the base surrounds. On this tour everyone is shown their bedrooms, location of the dining hall and kitchen, the games rooms, library, work rooms, gym, laboratories and helicopter hangar. Outside the new arrivals are shown which areas are no-go-zones (scientific exclusion areas), where the ‘smelly’ is located (where water is ‘made’, or rather snow and ice shoveled into a smelter, from which it is pumped up to the base for use of its inhabitants), and where the ice road is located. If you want to find out more on SANAE IV why don’t you have a look at our (quick) summary and overview of the base?
Once everyone had been orientated the team started with their preparations. Today was spent learning how to drive snow mobiles or Ski-Doos, as the South Africans generally call all types of snow mobiles. After this skill had been mastered the team went to the wind scoop located on the northwestern side of Vesleskarvet to re-acquiant themselves with icy slopes and practice how to arrest themselves on these slopes using ice axes. The weather thus far has been unseasonably warm and the blue ice in the wind scoop has liquid water below the frozen upper surface! Another vital skill learnt today was the use of crampons when walking along, up and down a slope. Tomorrow? More preparations for the field, practicing hazardous terrain traversal, prepping the scientific equipment for field work and preparing their food and camping boxes.
Photos from archives. Credit: C. Hansen
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