Well, this moment had to come someday – on 15 th September, at night the Polar Pioneer sailed out from the Harbour in Gdynia. It should reach South the Shetland Islands at the end of October.
Similar to the previous year, the transport to the station will be provided by the “Polar Pioneer”. One and the only change is that the summer and winter groups are flying to the South America and there they board the Polar Pioneer sailing from Poland. It is true that they will miss the pleasures of almost 40 day cruise, but they will have more time for training and making many cases before the expedition, which we were lacking so much.
Another good change is a previous employment of next trip manager by the Institute – this is a chance for a better flow of information and ensure a lot of things. Also, each of us is in a constant e-mail contact with its successor , so some important information can be submitted electronically (we do not know yet if we will have time to unload the ship and transfer duties).
With information coming to us, we know that the new group has already gone through all the trainings and now they are trying to pack, which, as you know, is quite a large logistical operation. We monitor these preparations curiously – at the end of last year we passed the same way, and felt the same emotions in connection with the forthcoming adventure.
The ship should reach the station at the end of October. After unloading and exchanging wintering groups… we’re going home. Strange as it sounds, but we still have some time to get use to these words somehow. On the one hand, I miss my family and friends. But the other is sadness I feel, but we know that there is not much we can do about it. We would have to survive (which however, was not so easy after returning from our first expedition to Spitsbergen).
The greater part of our wintering group have some plans to visit and to explore exotic South America. Me and Piotrek plan to return home immediately – a lot of emotion to digest, and what is too much isn’t a good thing. I am glad that after returning we just run into one of the nicer for me periods of the year, like autumn and winter, and then Christmas. There will be time to catch up all social-family life and temperature differences will not be so shocking for us. The only drawback is Krakow air, which we’ll need to use again.
Throughout the wintering some people record how many days left to the end – some even cross days in the calendar, others write it on the board in the kitchen. Now, we also follow the Polar Pioneer on the Internet. Me and Piotrek, after the experience of one wintering, have more relaxed approach to this, but we will certainly be easier here, because we are together.
“Polar Pioneer” is currently in Bremerhaven, you can follow his route on Marine Traffic.