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Time to depart…

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After a very successful field season at SANAE IV the team is now ready for the journey home and preparations are in full swing at the base. Unfortunately the weather currently does not permit the helicopters to ferry the scientists and take-over personnel from the base to the ship anchored at the ice shelf. That means that the first group of people will travel overland to the ship on the CAT train. The CAT train, which will depart today still, will travel app. 200km to the shelf, traversing a well-known route. The team will not be asked to do any of the driving, of course, since a dedicated team of drivers is in charge of driving the Caterpillars and Dozers to the shelf. The vehicles are large and drag tons of equipment of sledges behind them. As such, only people trained in driving the vehicles are allowed to do this.

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The CAT train en route to the ice shelf

The journey overland is quite the experience! The team will be staying in a caboose* on the journey, which is equipped with a kitchen facility, a toilet and bunk beds to sleep in. The vehicles also stop numerous times en route to give the driver’s a needed break to stretch their legs. And anyone who has ever been on a CAT train will remember that wonderful moment when you first see the S.A. Agulhas II peeking above the horizon! For now the team can look forward to yet another once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Photos from archives. Credit: C. Hansen

* A a caboose is a small mobile hut used to shelter people and can be dragged by one of the vehicles on the CAT train when placed on a sledge.

#LPiAE #CATtrain #SANAEIV #sadtoleaveAntarctica #2016fieldseason #fieldworkdone!

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