VISIT TO FORMER U.S. MILITARY BASE ‘FROZEN’ IN TIME THE PAST 25 YEARS
The five WindSled expeditionary, led by polar explorer Ramón Larramendi, arrived last Wednesday to a former US military base ‘frozen’ in time for twenty five long years. “The interior was like the scene of some science fiction movie, with frozen walls, a set up table, unmade beds, and all in absolute darkness,” explains Larramendi, whom for fifty days has circumnavigated the Arctic island in the wind convoy specifically designed for polar research.
The WindSled Greenland Circumnavigation which began on May 6, planned to go through various facilities on the Greenland ice cap, but the wind has not made it easy. Overall they have covered 2,175 mi (3,500 km) reaching 79 ° 50′ (at the north end) and 63 º 50 ‘ (until last Thursday, at the south end).
“On Wednesday, when we thought of turning to the right, westwards, to reach our starting point, Kangerlussuaq, we dropped by the former U.S. military base Dye-3. It was like stepping into a movie set,” they assured.
Dye-3 was part of the ‘Early Warning Catenation’, a line of radars crossing Southern Greenland that was active until the 60s. Then, and for two decades (until 1989), it was used as a scientific base to perform international studies: it was there, 1.2 miles deep, where ice fossils with DNA traces of what had once been a forest more than half a million years ago, were found.
Now it is a ghostly place. “…buried 66 ft (20 m) deep in snow. The white dome radar cannot be seen until a few feet away. To enter, we had to climb the snow drifts that had accumulated around it and locate a small open door. Inside, everything was in complete darkness, buried. It seemed to have been abandoned recently, with the table set and beds with blankets, half done. Everything is frozen. With icicles falling off roofs and frosted walls. The feeling was a mix between excitement and terror at the same time…,” states Larramendi.
The five explorers, with flashlights, toured the facilities. Phrasing his words, “it seems like a long time nobody has been here”. Nothing strange, because Dye 3 is not located on the usual routes of exploration expeditions.
Manuel adds more details of the visit: “It appears that things had not been picked up to leave. In the rooms there still are books and pictures hanging on the walls, also apples in a fruit bowl and bread on the table, as if someone had just been to breakfast. It’s been a fascinating experience. ”
After two hours inside, the expedition left the military base which will be eventually swallowed up by snow. “Observing the installation that has been buried in these past twenty five years, in another twenty the dome will disappear completely from view,” remarks Larramendi.
The WindSled now continues its route. The expeditionary have already reached the southern most point planned (63 degrees N) and are turning westwards to climb back to the point where the circumnavigation began fifty days ago.