by Thomas Ronge |
While the current expedition is still at sea, everyone from our cruise is preparing to leave for Chile later this week. But actually we are preparing since a much longer time, so that we ask ourselves: “At which point does an expedition start? When the airplane departs for Punta Arenas in Chile or when the vessel leaves port?”
For most of us, the first stage of an expedition begins about nine months before boarding. As soon as the cruise plan is online, we have to plan which lab equipment, sea-going devices, consumables and other equipment we need.
Every single item, from cleaning cloths, computers up to our geological devices, needs detailed customs documents. Once the documents are written, we have to pack the smaller items in aluminium boxes and large devices directly in 20’ containers.
In particular, our large, sea-going devices require a lot of (physical) work.
For us this means Hafenlager (warehouse).
WhilePolarstern is overhauled in the dock, we have to frequent the Lloyd shipyard, where the AWI warehouse is located. At the warehouse piston and gravity corers, kasten corers, water samplers, plankton nets, multicorers and a multitude of other devices have to be stowed in 20’ containers. This fall, our port call was particularly stressful. Usually the vessel stops in Bremerhaven for three weeks. This time, we only had 11 days to unload all samples and the equipment from the last Arctic season and stow everything we need this Antarctic season. At the end of October 2015 the containers left Bremerhaven aboard of Polarstern and will remain
there until our expedition in February 2016.
Next stop: Bekleidungslager (clothing store)
For me, a visit to the AWI clothing store feels like I’m going to shop for outdoor clothes. Every cruise participant is provided with a duffle bag full of working and polar apparel. Socks, gloves, jumpsuits, rain jackets and pants, caps, sweaters, protection- polar- and rubber-boots, thermo jumpsuits, parkas as well as sunscreen and lipsticks are amongst these items. If everything fits, the duffel bags are stowed into containers as well.
Antarctic Environmental Protection Seminar
Everyone who wants to work or travel south of 60°S has to attend the Antarctic Environmental Protection Seminar. All scientists, technicians, crewmembers, journalists, students or tourists are instructed about the special Antarctic environmental protection regulations. No participation? No ticket for Antarctica!
After this point it’s back to regular for most of us. Now it’s up to our logistics department to ensure that all of our goods arrive at their destination and, of course, to book our tickets for Chile.