Our departure has been postponed. It is taking a long time to remove the hard-packed snow from the runway on Union Glacier. Take-off will not be until tomorrow at the earliest, almost exactly 100 years after Roald Amundsen set off from Hvalbukta.
The time zone is important here: Amundsen started at 09:30 New Zealand time 19 October, which is 22:30 on 18 October Norwegian time and 17:30 here in Punta Arenas (also 18 October). Amundsen is getting a head start on us! After we land on Union Glacier we still have a 2000 km flight to Hvalbukta, and the weather can always be a complicating factor.
We take Fridtjof Nansen’s words to heart:
“For the time being we must remain in one place and anoint ourselves generously with the ointment called patience, a commodity of which every polar expedition should carry an ample supply.”