We will do as planned

The room is filling up. ALE, the logistics company that will transport us to Antarctica, has invited us to a meeting. They want to let everyone know they are working as hard as they can to get us all south. The most recent weather forecasts show a possibility of flying on Friday.
Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) informs waiting polar travellers about the weather conditions in AntarcticaOn Tuesday, Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) informed all the waiting polar travellers about the weather conditions in Antarctica. Photo: Harald Dag Jølle / Norwegian Polar Institute

Many polar travellers have gathered. Some intend to travel far and are in a hurry. Others have more time available. A few are considering taking a shorter excursion than planned because of the delay. Some are from Spain, others from Australia. Several are from Great Britain. A few are from Finnmark in northern Norway. One is from Hamar in southern Norway. Some are showing signs of stress. Others have a more relaxed attitude, even if they may not make it home for Christmas.

We have said it many times before, but we say it again: there is nothing anyone can do about the weather in Antarctica. And (we repeat) we were mentally prepared for delays.

Nonetheless it’s frustrating when reality doesn’t want to play along with our plans. We find no consolation in attempts to convince ourselves that we modern human beings benefit from such experiences. Waiting. Boredom. Being reminded that it isn’t possible to predict everything. That humans sometimes have to wait until Mother Nature has finished showing off her muscles.

But – and many of the people back home are wondering about this – what will we do now that we are so badly delayed? The answer is clear and simple: we will start from the Bay of Whales, as planned, and take as much time as we need for a safe, secure journey to the South Pole.

We still believe it is possible to get there in time for the Centenary celebration 14 December, but we are prepared for the possibility that the celebration will take place without us. We want to follow Amundsen’s route. It is that excursion – and the accompanying outreach – that we have been planning and working towards for nearly three years.