Our last weeks before leaving Norway were hectic. Book release, celebration of Nansen’s birthday, preparation at work and at home. Everything from putting winter tyres on the car to planning for Christmas. All our gear was thoroughly tested, counted and weighed: 650 kg of gear, approximately half of it food, was sent to Chile ahead of us.
It was a great relief when we were informed that everything had arrived safely. Not a single ski pole had been damaged. But nevertheless, we struggle against gnawing uncertainty about whether we have remembered everything. This is definitely not the kind of excursion where you can forget to pack stuff – it’s a long way to the nearest shop.
Today we went through all our gear once again, and obviously we spotted a few little problems. Tomorrow we load the plane so we have no time to lose. Vegard and Harald Dag rush off to a shop that carries electronic gadgets and buy a few spare connectors for our solar panels. Our contact with the outside world literally hangs by a thread – by a wire anyway – and the connectors simply must function despite the severe cold. At the other end of the spectrum, Stein and Jan-Gunnar head for the local supermarket and purchase sixteen rolls of toilet paper and some extra salami to stash away in the depots. Suddenly we spot a mathematical error that affects the number of screws we need for our sleds. The door of the nearest hardware store is flung open and breathless Norwegian customers march in.
But when we leave the warehouse containing all our stuff, we feel that we are ready. Departure time is not until Sunday at the earliest, but to be honest, it will be great to have a day off now. Especially since one of us is taking a course of penicillin and another is nursing a sore throat. Once we get out on the ice the sterile environment will make such tribulations a thing of the past. We are looking forward to that. And to getting underway. Today it is exactly two months until 14 December.