This morning, a Twin Otter was finally able to fly into Vinson Base Camp to gather the team off the Branscomb Glacier. A short 40 min later they were back in Union Glacier, awaiting the Ilyushin 76 which touched down on the Blue Ice Runway around noon.
We just heard from the team that they had safely landed Punta Arenas where a hot showers and soft beds await. Tomorrow morning, with much regret, the team will dissolve as people catch flights back home.
Thank you to everyone who followed along and engaged with us on social media, and thanks to all of the staff, guides, and team members that have made this expedition such an incredible success!
The team is still in a holding pattern to make the flight to the South Pole, but they are not idle. Today the group was given a tour of the Novolazarevskaya Station. Their tour guide was an Astrophysicist, and he took them to every corner of the base.
The "Novo" Antarctic Research station is located at Schirmacher Oasis, Queen Maud Land, 75 km from the Antarctic coast, from which it is separated by Lazarev Ice Shelf. It was opened on January 18, 1961 by the 6th Soviet Antarctic Expedition. The maximum summer population is 70.
The team will be going back to the station tonight to oserve the launching of a weather baloon.
The team woke early for an excursion to the Emperor Penguin colony, but the flight ended up being delayed for several hours. Eventually, after the delay had been sorted out, half of the team made the flight to the penguin colony and had the chance to explore around for an hour and a half. At this time of year, the chicks are very large, but still easily recognizable by their thick grey downy feathers. The other half of the team went to explore the nearby ice caves. Warm temperatures have caused the commonly empty cave to have a river rushing through it, but they still had an amazing hike on the ice shelf.
The team has touched down in Antarctica!
The 6-hour flight was smooth and conditions were cloudy but calm when the plane touched down. From the runway, the team was transferred 12km to The Oasis for a nice lunch. They had time to settle into their accommodations before going for a hike to see the ice shelf.
Everyone is in great spirits and settled in after a nice dinner. If the weather improves tomorrow, the team plans to go see the ice cave near base camp.
Yesterday the team had their Pre-Flight briefing where they reviewed the details of the expedition and received their boarding passes. During the briefing, they were also introduced to Richard, an official from the South African government who will be shadowing our group to observe polar commercial travel for future legislation.
After picking up their Polar outerwear, the team feels ready and excited to embark! Next stop, Antarctica!
Get Sponsored: 8 tips on funding your next expedition
Here at PolarExplorers, we are contacted every day by aspiring adventurers who lack the funding to achieve their expedition goals, so we reached out to an expert on the subject of getting sponsored.
Jeff Blumenfeld, founder of Expedition News and author of Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers, and Would-Be World Travelers, gave us his take on how to be successful when looking for sponsors on your next expedition.
The seas have been large since leaving South Georgia and today was no exception.
Even though the biggest part of the expedition was complete, the team had a wonderful and packed day yesterday as they landed at a King Penguin colony to enjoy South Georgia's world renowned biodiversity.
The team completed their Crossing of South Georgia Island yesterday! Early yesterday afternoon the team was picked up by zodiac and rendezvoused with the rest of their shipmates at Fortuna bay where the Plancius was waiting for them.
The Shackleton Crossing team has had a long and grueling day covering roughly 14km across the Fortuna Glacier. However, the sun came out and gave them a welcome opportunity to use their sunscreen, which has been relatively untouched.