Dear AtkaXpress fans,
Since 31 July 2020, we – the 41st overwintering team – have been on duty for the AWI and the Laeisz Shipping Group.
Peter, our physician / station leader, and Theresa, our IT and radio operator, have already shared quite a bit of information here.To give you a brief overview, I’ll tell you something about the preparation period, about my work and about the station that we’ll call home for 13 months. But first of all, I assume you’d like to know who I am:
My name is Tanguy Doron, I’m 53 years young and am originally from Vendôme, a small town in the heart of the Loire chateau region of France. I’ve lived in Germany – in Freising, Upper Bavaria to be precise – since 1985, and I’ve been in the restaurant business since 1983. I was self-employed from 1998 to 2018, and then worked as a chef in Switzerland for two years before I was given the chance to fulfil my dream of coming here.
And now I’d like to tell you something about our preparations and my work: all ten of us overwinterers met for the first time on 31 July 2020: Jess, the botanist, supplies fresh vegetables. Theresa, our telecommunications wiz, takes care of IT. Linda, our atmospheric chemist, improves the air quality. Peter, our doctor, ensures that we stay healthy. Florian and Markus are both engineers and are the heart and soul of the station – we couldn’t manage without them here. Paul, the meteorologist, always keeps a clear focus and brings us good weather. Timo and Lorenz are our geophysicists. Thanks to them, we always know what’s happening on and between the continental plates. And I, the cook, am responsible for keeping everyone with full stomachs and in good spirits.
First of all we got to know each other and moved into our accommodation together (my first shared flat!). We then attended numerous courses at the AWI, where we learned a great deal. In mid-August we travelled to the Austrian Alps for our mountain rescue training. There we met our guides, Andi and Hansi, and completed a range of exercises to learn how to survive in the mountains, and above all in the ice, with its glaciers and crevasses. We had to learn how to rescue ourselves and our colleagues, how to descend and ascend properly, and how, in an emergency, to camp on a glacier in any type of weather. It was all very impressive and highly informative – it’s important to know how to survive here in the Antarctic, at the ends of the Earth.
Back in Bremerhaven, our new home and workplace until the end of November, the group saw little of each other during the day – each of us was busy in his or her own particular area. From time to time, a few of us were away on ‘business trips’. Nevertheless, we still managed to have breakfast and our evening meal together almost every day. While there, I started cooking for everyone. After all, it was important to see what they liked more, and liked less, so that I could plan better.
After a few weeks, we all travelled to the Baltic Sea together. Not for a holiday, unfortunately, but for our fire safety training at a German naval site. We spent an exciting weekend there. Practise, practise, practise, because in the Antarctic, we have to be able to do everything ourselves. Here there’s no police, fire service or hospitals – we have to be able to look after ourselves one hundred percent.
While we’re on the subject, Peter and I were able to spend time as interns with a dentist – I was only there for a week, Peter a bit longer. We also have to be self-sufficient in this important area. In addition, Peter, Timo and I completed practical training in the emergency and anaesthetic departments at the Klinikum Bremerhaven-Reinkenheide, a large acute-care hospital in Bremerhaven – here, too, Peter stayed somewhat longer, and Timo and I for two weeks each. It was an extremely interesting internship.