Final preparations, butterflies rising

Location: Table View, Cape Town, South Africa, 33˚51’29″S, 18˚39’41″E
Temperature: 25˚C, Partly Cloudy, S 17 knots

With less than 36 hours to departure our kit has finally cleared customs, phew! It was a great relief to see my giant toy box in the hanger at Cape Town airport, though opening the lid attached with 30 power driven screws with a Leatherman was a major pain!

Our 75 pieces of luggage with a final weigh-in of 1490 kg are now being loaded onto the the awesome IL76 Cargo plane. We will not see them again until the ice runway of Novolazarevskaya, Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.

Now we are all busy with camera, communications and general tech checks. Our 2 Iridium sat phones are working, the BGAN high speed satellite internet terminal is online here at 33˚S, fingers crossed it’ll work as well down at 72˚S in base camp?

Al and Dave are drooling over their arsenal of fancy glassware and high-end Japanese electronics kindly loaned to us by Onsight camera equipment and Canon UK. The video and picture quality are mint, the kit is a massive upgrade from our previous missions. Check out the 600mm canon!

Dave’s Mum & Dad treated us to an early Christmas dinner last night. Seemed a bit weird pulling crackers, and carving turkey at a outdoor table wearing shorts. Stanley was quite bemused by the ‘Christmas poppers’ and ‘Party crowns’, apparently Yanks are not aux fait with our British/South African festive traditions!

All that’s left to do now attend the flight briefing this afternoon prior to departure tomorrow evening and fight the rising butterflies in our stomachs!

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