11 August 2012

NEEM is closed and we are out

Lou, Sverrir and Peter are sealing the entrance of the main dome with plywood just before they rush to the waiting plane.

It has been a dramatic day. The plane was scheduled to arrive at NEEM at 1045; but due to technical issues the departure from Kangerlussuaq was delayed.

In the mean time we had received a weather forecast from our forecaster, Marc de Keyser that an at least three day long severe blizzard was coming later today. We were biting our finger nails, the Sun was still shining after the morning fog had lifted; but something ominous was hovering in the sky to the South. With almost everything closed and packed down, we were not inclined to spend a weekend in a blizzard.

The 109th sent another plane, and by 1355 the plane landed at NEEM in sunshine. The plane was loaded to the roof with all our cargo and by 1515 we started to slide out to the skiway. By that time, the sky was overcast and snow was imminent. The heavily loaded plane began to accelerate down the skiway, and by 1525 we were airborne!

All crew members are now back safely in Kangerlussuaq where everybody got a shower and changed clothes and NEEM is closed.

I can happily report that population at NEEM is now 0, and the NEEM camp was closed in a clockwork operation.

What we have done today:
1. Removing last toilet.
2. Finished the last pallet.
3. Pulled the tomato sled and generator sled to hills.
4. Taking the cooks snow melter down.
5. Taking the weather station down.
6. Photo documenting the main dome.
7. Parked last vehicles in garages.
8. Sealed the main dome.
9. Flew to Kangerlussuaq with the 109th.

Weather: - 9°C to - 11°C.  Wind: 2 m/s from W. Fine in the morning after fog had lifted. After 1300 rapid increasing overcast.

The main dome sits rather forlornly on the empty ice sheet. In the center of the picture the casing of the borehole can be seen. In the past 4 years, hundreds of people have been working around the borehole in underground snow trenches. The trenches are no more, and only a pipe shows the site of earlier scientific activity.


A group picture of the last crew well back in rainy Kangerlussuaq. From the left: Sarah, Peter, Alexandra, Lou, Sverrir, J.P., Bo, Anne-Katrine, Lisbeth, Myriam and Satow.


FL, J.P. Steffensen

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