Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Antarctic Status Report 17 October 2018: Preparing To Depart

©Dale Andersen

Maps of Lake Untersee region

Tomorrow (17 October) my team and I will depart for Cape Town, South Africa the first leg in our journey to Lake Untersee in the Mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.

Larger image

This will be my 23rd expedition to the Antarctic continent to conduct scientific research and I am eager to return to one of my favorite dive sites on the planet to continue our investigations.

We will see how it goes, but we hope to depart Cape Town for Antarctica on Tuesday the 23rd, and after a 5-6 hour flight south via an ALCI chartered Volga-Dnepr Ilyushin-76TD-90VD, arrive at the ice-runway at Novolazarevskaya. Weather can be unpredictable and unforgiving in polar regions and we will likely see a few delays along the way. But once our gear is pulled together we will traverse the ice to Lake Untersee.

Three of us will set out on snowmobiles, while the other three team members will make the trip via tracked vehicle with all of our cargo which includes camping gear, diving gear, scientific equipment and other supplies we will need once we reach our destination. Depending on weather and ice/snow conditions, it usually takes us 6-8 hours by snowmobile to reach the lake. The tracked vehicle and sleds, moving a bit more slowly averages 8-9 hours.

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