16.2.18 Flying home
With one day delay, but still 4 days earlier than originally planned, we finally had to leave Neumayer. Since we were 7 people in the little Twin Otter (plus luggage) we had to fly to the Norwegian base Troll to re-fuel. Troll is situated in the mountains, and just the thought of going there was so exciting that I did not have time to feel sad about leaving Neumayer. We left the base below us and then flew eastwards, first along the coast then above Jelbart and Fimbul Ice shelves. Huge crevasses, big enough to let a whole fleet of Pistenbullys disappear, were lying below us. A fast moving ice stream called Jotulstraumen flows from the mountains into and through Fimbul Ice Shelf, a tongue of ice that is faster than the surrounding ice, Trolltunga. The crevasses are formed where the velocity of the ice changes so rapidly between the fast moving part and the surrounding ice shelf.
We also saw the South African base SANAE IV from the air, we flew right over it. When we landed on the 3km
long runway at Troll, the sun disappeared behind the clouds, but the mountains between Troll and Novo were still an incredible sight. At Novo, we had only a very short stay, before we could board the good old Boeing again, this time not in the VIP lounge, but still with crazy luxury for poor scientists. The pilots were the same as on the way from Capetown to Novo and I spent quite some time in the cockpit again, watching the last icebergs disappear and also the sunset, and later the stars. We finally arrived in Capetown, where we had to spent the weekend since all flights were fully booked until Monday. I caught one of the last window seats and got a wonderful view of the Namib desert at and after sunset: dark brown mountains rising from flat white plains, large patches of red sand with dunes, all in the light of the still glooming western sky after the sun had disappeared. Finally, I landed safe and sound in Innsbruck on Tuesday morning.