BELARE 2007-2008: Construction of the Princess Elisabeth Station
Over 4.5 months, from November 2007 to March 2008, the BELARE expedition built the Princess Elisabeth Station's outer shell and set up the seven remaining wind turbines at Utsteinen, East Antarctica.
Princess Elisabeth Station: From Tour & Taxis to Utsteinen
After the success it encountered during its pre-assembly and public viewing in Brussels, the elements of the Princess Elisabeth station were dismantled and packed into containers. They were then loaded onto a Russian ice-class cargo ship on November 6, 2007 for their twenty day journey to Cape Town where the ship refuelled and picked up fresh food supplies and twenty or so passengers before continuing towards Antarctica.
BELARE 2007-2008: First Team and First Stage
Project Director Alain Hubert and 24 other expedition members had already reached Utsteinen by plane in early November. They had brought with them all the living and working equipment they would need until the arrival of the Ivan Papanin. Using some equipment left at Utsteinen from the previous year and a fixed up tractor recuperated from the former Japanese Asuka station, the first team was able to set up the base camp, haul the containers stored at Breid Bay last year, complete the garage construction, and drill both the station's anchoring points and the holes for the wind turbines.
Before the drilling began, topographic studies were carried out on the ridge so as to ensure optimal positioning of the station. Not only was the drilling of the station's anchoring points the most important part of the first building stage, it was also the most delicate to carry out. The composition of the granite rock and the unequal disposition of the rocks made this step the most difficult to overcome.
Drilling the station's anchoring points was the toughest part of the job, but also the most important for the successful construction of the station. Drilled within millimetre accuracy, the station's anchoring points ended up being more precise than at Tour & Taxis.
BELARE 2007-2008: Second Stage
Following a stopover at 5