Food packed, refreshments packed, survival gear packed, radios, GPS, CO detector and EPIRB all packed into the ‘gorgeous’ blue Hägglunds tracked vehicle for a weekend of reading and relaxation in the elevated Bandits hut. Four intrepid souls bound for Bandits mingled with those bound for Platcha as the Häggs warmed up, a final departing team portrait was taken then in we settled for the not so smooth ride.
As the piercing bright headlights came to life, Damian, our driver for the afternoon, eased the handbrake off and lulled the Hägg into clawing its way across white snow crunching it into submission as we proceeded towards the sea ice and out of station limits. With the track north programmed into the GPS/radar, Damian steered between the snow and ice patched route around islands and fortress like icebergs on the seemingly limitless sea of ice. Light to moderate winds whipped up snow which skidded across the white surface and filtered the headlights for a less than average view forward.
At our farthest northern point of the trip, Damian turned our Hägg east for the final leg to Bandits hut. Reaching the edge of the sea ice, we traversed up over the fractured surface of tide cracks where ice sheets are pushed by the tide into long continuous mounds around the edge of the bay. Safe and sound off the sea ice, Damian, Greg, James and Brendan unloaded provisions into the hut. Certainly it was enough food for a week, not two nights. With the heater on, the Tilley lamp glowed with a comforting radiance and the four expeditioners settled in for refreshments, dinner and books.
The following morning, with a reassuring crack and hiss, the stove leapt to life heating water for the first cup of the day. All four had an excellent night’s sleep. Plans for the day conveyed back to station included book reading and with the clear calm weather outside, panoramic photography from the sacred summit above Bandits Hut. That night Damian ventured out for some aurora snapping and came back with award winning landscapes of green streaked night skies, speckled with the light from distant stars. Board games and books completed the night, complemented by crackers and cheese.
The next day, pre-warming the Hägg with a small generator allowed Brendan and Greg to fire the clattering diesel into life to ferry the traveller’s home through iceberg ally to home comforts of Davis station. A very comfortable and relaxing weekend was had by all.