Research blog: Johan Casselgren day 36-42

Snow researcher Johan Casselgren, Luleå University of Technology, blogs from Antarctica during the expedition DML 2021/22.

Day 36-37

There are only a few days left here at Wasa, and the last measurements need to be planned and carried out. For two days, we went out and made some complimenting measurements at points not very far from Wasa. Out on the ice, it is important to always have a GPS with current routes in case the visibility disappears or if an area with ice cracks approaches. In the picture, Annika, Andrew and Ian are driving a snowmobile.

Three snowmobile drivers out on the ice.
Three snowmobile drivers out on the ice. Annika Kristoffersson (Swedish Polar Research Secretariat), Andrew Mercer (University of Gävle) and Ian Brown (Stockholm University) on snowmobiles. Photo: Johan Casselgren

Day 38

Visibility was poor and the wind strong, so we took care of all the equipment we used during our time here at Wasa and started packing it. Everything must be stored to withstand the winter and be used by the next team. During the day, we also took the opportunity to analyze specific parts of the data we collected.

Day 39

The weather cleared up and became really nice. We chose to perform one last measurement and mount the reflector we dug up earlier. The reflector was mounted on Basen not far from the station Wasa. Annika, Ian, and Andrew are standing next to the reflector in the picture.

An instrument has been mounted on the ice.
Installation of reflector day 39. Annika Kristoffersson (Swedish Polar Research Secretariat), Andrew Mercer (University of Gävle) and Ian Brown (Stockholm University) stand by the reflector. Photo: Johan Casselgren

Day 40

We made one last tour to investigate an idea about the surface structure of the ice cover. The last pieces of the equipment were packed in the afternoon, and everything except the personal packing was ready.

One bedroom with bunk bed at the research station Wasa.
One of the bedrooms at the Wasa research station. Photo: Johan Casselgren
Inside the Wasa research station.
Inside the Wasa research station. Photo: Johan Casselgren

Day 41

We had imagined a calm day when we would pack our personal items and take one last walk up to the top of Basen. Andrew and I went outside, but after 20 minutes, we received a message that the flight to Novo, the Russian base, would arrive in three hours, so we had to turn back and pack up. The flight to Novo arrived on time, and we reached Novo as planned!

A blue, white and red plane lands on the ice.
The plane to the Russian base Novo lands on the ice. Photo: Johan Casselgren

Day 42

Now we are at the Novo base and waiting for information on when we can fly to Cape Town.

On the way here, one of my wishes was fulfilled: to see a living penguin in Antarctica!

A dream came true: to see a penguin in Antarctica! Photo: Johan Casselgren

Day 43

Now it's close! The plane has landed, and if everything goes as planned, we will take off at 03:00. The time has been postponed by three hours due to bad weather in various places where other passengers were to be picked up.

Plane on the ice in Antarctica.
The plane from Antarctica to Cape Town. Photo: Johan Casselgren

Day 44

We took off! After six hours in a not too comfortable plane, we landed in Cape Town. After some testing at the airport, we could finally check-in at the hotel. Now there are only two days left of the expedition before I'm home. We would like to thank the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, the Swedish Space Agency, Luleå University of Technology, Stockholm University and the University of Gävle for making this expedition possible.

Publishing date: 17 Jan 2022