Taken from ESA-sponsored medical doctor Floris van den Berg’s personal blog:
‘I see the sea! First!’ – my sisters
My family went to the North Sea for holidays almost every year. The second we got there, my sisters and I would race up the little hill towards the dunes to get the first view of the sea. The excitement of running up that little hill to see the sea never wore out even after all this time.
Unfortunately, the horizon in Concordia is a more constant one. No little hills to climb to see the sea around here. In fact, there are no hills at all and even if there were we are 1100 km from the coast, so the sea is not in sight anyway. Quite a shame…
Twice a year there is a different reason for horizon excitement: the Raid arrives!
‘I see the Raid! First!’ – nobody (yet)
Maybe it was because we watched it from the quiet tower that nobody yelled it out loud, but the arrival of the Raid was indeed quite exciting. A few little dots on the horizon, the first little dots in ages in a normally completely white planet. The Raid arrives. The six massive CAT 865s took a full 11 days to traverse from the French Dumont d’Urville station before finally arriving at Dome C.
Two times per summer the caravan arrives in Concordia with tons of cargo, fuel, and food. Pushing the limits of the specialized caterpillars, they make the long trek to get all the supplies needed for the winter season. The unloading alone takes the whole team roughly a day to complete. The haul includes frozen food, a year’s supply of beer, and 160 000 l of diesel to keep us happy and warm.
As the Raid left for the long journey back tomorrow, we enjoy the newly-arrived beers and began to contemplate about the fact that the last plane out will leave in a week.
‘I see a plane! The last!’ – me (within one week)
Stats: Temperature –37.8°C. Windchill –50.2°C. 24 hours of daylight.