Back on the ship. In the same cabin, even. Halley is behind me. Next stop: Signy, in the South Orkney Islands.
The last few days were slightly hectic, but finished on a good note. One interesting development: no sooner does one mention a Norwegian, and suddenly poof! They materialize in your midst. Suddenly, Norwegians asserted their treaty rights to a base inspection.
As stated in the treaty, any signatory nation is allowed to spot-inspect any other base, to make sure they conform to the treaty - mostly on the environmental end. So we had a Norwegian ambassador and his entourage come to Halley for a couple hours visit.
Of course, the visit is fairly social as well. The Norwegians are our neighbours - their base, Troll, is one of the two closest bases to us, and our science overlaps quite often. We actually have a few of them on the ship now, as well.
But the visit was a good excuse to clean the Simpson building, which we did thoroughly. Then, they moved on...and we started moving people down to the ship on Saturday. I was one of the last to go, on Sunday morning, with last year's winterers.
One of my last Halley tasks - shave off my beard. I was quite proud of it - I can grow a damn good beard.
After this crucial task, we took off for the coast, where the new winterers saw us off with the traditional firing of flares...
and they are now on their own until next November. They weren't the only ones to see us off...there was an honour guard of emporer penguins there as well. Although they got bored eventually and wandered off to go for a nice warm swim (at -10C).
And now, here I am. Internet is even patchier than on the way down, as the path between the satellite dish and the satellite happens to be blocked by the crane, whenever we travel northwest. And that happens to be the direction we'll be travelling in, for the next two weeks.
With a bit of ice smashing along the way.