A cosmopolitan base


23 April 2007

A cosmopolitan base

We should cross the 88°degree North by the end of the week

French elections the day after: we organised yesterday evening a small vote, between ourselves. 15 persons registered, 15 persons voting. Best score blank and abstention.

Tara is heeling on her port side since the beginning of October. As some polls show: it is a major trend! Ségolène Royal has won three votes. Coming just after the blanks and the abstentions, the left is clearly second. The vote reporting in the second round should not be a problem for her!

This was for the French but the base has 35 persons who unfortunately were not able to express themselves. Tonight there should 43 people on the base –including the pilots- representing 13 countries: Germany, Denmark, Estonia, United States, Finland, France, New Zealand, Norway, UK, Russia and Sweden.

To house every body, a village of tents is being built around the schooner that with her environment looks like a real base. It is today the third flight of the DC3 and one Twin Otter has joined the base yesterday.

Between today and tomorrow, it must parachute 16 weather beacons up to 300 km around Tara.
At a first glance, the boat that I left seven months ago, has withstood winter. I noticed a slight indent on the bow, on the port side, due to the attacks of the pressure reefs. Nothing serious if one thinks of the power of the ice : several tons.

Tara is nearly completely covered with snow because of last weeks’ storm. Hélène Santener who knows the boat well evokes a polar wreck. It is actually very impressive to have to go down three steps of snow to reach the deck’s level.
From the sky, one only sees the masts and the booms. We are there since Saturday and for one week instead of the initial two weeks or three weeks for some of us.

All the measures and scientific handling must thus be accelerated and the mess area of Tara is starting to look like a bee hive, especially at mealtimes. This time contraction that is allocated to us is a great source of frustration.
Luckily, the weather remains clement.

Etienne Bourgois