30.11.2008

Two days have passed in a state of constant waiting - every two hours the rangers would send us a weather report for Patriot Hills in Antarctica, and every two hours we were in a state of full readiness to leave, but... But it appeared as if the weather was only toying with us - at one point it seemed to be good for flying only to change to zero-zero weather minutes later. On day two, Sasha and I could not stand it anymore and visited the pilots to learn the forecast at first hand. We were treated to a delicious borsch (the guys continue their culinary exploits in Chile) and said visibility would not improve by Monday, while starting Monday the weather forecast promises intensified wind. As they put it, we were stuck in Punta Arenas for at least a week. Downbeat, we returned to the hotel only to get a call - we are leaving! It turns out the rangers in Antarctica have added a few extra weather stations in Antarctica this year, and now they can see weather windows in which the plane can land. Indeed, giving us forty minutes to gather, the rangers took us to the airport and thirty minutes later Sasha Abramov and his team were already on their way to Antarctica. I remained in Punta Arenas to meet my team. Almost simultaneously with the IL-76 taking off, Sergey Lavrov, Yaroslav Sabyrbayev, and Konstantin Morozov landed in Punta Arenas. Tomorrow they will be followed by the remaining members of my team - Alexander Orlov and Vladimir Aristarkhov.

Later that night Sasha Abramov called me from Antarctica via satellite phone, reporting that the weather was good that they landed successfully at Patriot Hills. According to forecasts, the guys would almost immediately leave for the South Pole (Amundsen-Scott Antarctic station) and return to Patriot Hills on the same day.

We are looking forward to hearing from them.

Reporting from Punta Arenas, Sergey Kofanov