Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed one thing: Corona takes the anticipation out of everything. So much can go wrong, plans can be cancelled at the last minute. When I got the news from my internship supervisor last fall that I could accompany him on the next Polarstern expedition, I was full of anticipation. The expedition is next summer, so everything will be fine until then. Christmas, exam phase, thoughts of the big trip were put on the back burner for now. Then in March 2021: Norways borders are still closed, the exchange of expedition groups at the beginning of June via Tromsø may not work. It quickly became clear that what was actually two legs of the expedition would become one, and two groups would become one. I was sure that as a student I would have to give up my place – but I am lucky, I still can join the trip. In the next few weeks, I started to prepare for the expedition. But unfortunately, at the same time, the pandemic in Germany picks up speed again. I buy travel tablets and at the same time ask myself when else I could use them if Corona upsets my plans again.
Last Friday, we set off, but the atmosphere of departure still did not want to set in. Even if one has packed one’s things for an Arctic expedition – first it goes for 10 days quarantine in a hotel room in Bremerhaven. Upon arrival, one could already take a quick look at the future fellow passengers. Quickly the first messages are exchanged: Are you already through with the test? What does your room look like? (Harbour view!) How will the food be? (It’s ok.) What did you take for the quarantine time? (Books and snacks). I’m lucky, from my room I can look directly at the Fishery Harbor and when the is some sun in prospect, it shines directly into my room. And with lots of books, video calls with friends and family and normal work, time goes by amazingly fast. By now, I think everyone here in quarantine will have realized that we have taken on way too much for these days. Just because you are sitting alone in a room, the day doesn’t suddenly have more hours. But who knows, maybe I’ll manage to read at least two of the six books I brought with me!
Two corona PCR tests are done, one more to come. If everything goes well, I will leave my room with a view next Monday and we will be taken to Polarstern by bus. And when we are on board and go through the lock, maybe then the feeling will finally set in that it’s starting now.