Paul, our Station Mechanical Supervisor, was very keen to retrieve the last two quads (left out for training in March) and the blue Hägglunds up at the Woop Woop skiway before we lost the sun completely. Our last sunrise and sunset happens on Thursday 3 June. He organised a team of three — Station Leader Ali, Electrician Dev and Chef Lesley to accompany him, leaving Monday in the yellow Hägg.
We headed first for Bandits Hut as the aurora faded and the day begun to lighten, arriving there around 1030. We had to negotiate around the huge bergs grounded on the many shallow reefs that fringe the coast, an area usually termed Iceberg Alley by the station residents. Once at Bandits we offloaded some of our load into the hut for later then headed out again along the GPS route up onto the plateau through the moraine line.
The only snow on the smooth, windswept blue-ice plateau was around the vehicles, huts and equipment left after the final plane and helicopter of the summer season departed. Using the yellow Hägglunds as an excellent wind break, we cleared the snow and ice from around the wheels and tracks while Paul started the generators to warm up the engine. During this time we were treated to one of our last glimpses of the sun for the next six weeks. After a great deal of effort, finally the engine started and we were once again heading down towards the Vestfold Hills as the sun sank quickly below the horizon in a blaze of pink and orange.
As the dark descended we reached the two quads left at WW05 (a known waypoint), quickly dug out the anchors holding them in place and got them started. With each of us driving a vehicle we made our way back to Bandits Hut were we enjoyed a pleasant evening before heading back to station the next day.