What does it look like at the North Pole? A white-blue infinity, pressure ridges, light shows – pure magic that only a few people have ever experienced in winter. We are overjoyed to be among them. But the North Pole will again have a break from visitors this year. What has been expected for days has now arrived – Icecamp Barneo will not be built. The 2021 season therefore ends before it even begins.
PolarJournal was informed by the operator of Camp Barneo a few days ago that Barneo will not take place in April 2021 either. The decision was justified with the difficult time planning. Due to the outbreak of the new, more contagious form of the coronavirus, Norway has again tightened its entry regulations on January 29, 2021. Entry into Norway is now only possible for Norwegian citizens and foreign nationals residing in Norway. All foreigners who do not fall under an exemption will be denied entry without further assessment.
Because of COVID, the 2020 season also did not take place. In 2019, political tensions prevented the Ukrainian aircraft from flying to the Russian station Barneo, although it was ready to be built and operated.
The starting point for the flights to Barneo Ice Camp at the North Pole is Longyearbyen. The flight to the camp takes about 2½ hours. As it is not clear when Norway will reopen its borders, it is uncertain whether Longyearbyen airport in Spitsbergen can be used as a stopover for Barneo tourists and researchers in April.
The construction is a logistical masterpiece
In addition, the construction of the camp near the North Pole is a logistical masterpiece that takes several months. The preparatory work for setting up the camp begins as early as February. In the vicinity of Moscow, the material is gathered and tested, i.e. made ‘airworthy’. From the middle of March everything is moved to Murmansk and is then ready to be transported to the North Pole. All the material and the construction team of about 18 experts will be dropped by parachute. Setting up the camp and creating an airstrip for the flights from Spitsbergen takes about 10 days. Work is done in 3 shifts around the clock. When finished the camp is open for about 3 weeks. Besides the tourist visitors, research work is also done.
The author of this report was present a few years ago with a film crew when Camp Barneo was built. It all started in a warehouse in Moscow. The construction was filmed and photographed until the arrival of the first researchers and tourists at Camp Barneo. The filming lasted a total of 6 weeks.
In due course, you will be given the opportunity to read an exciting report on this website about how Camp Barneo is coming into being.
Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal