The TAAF1 have aquired a special status since early 2020 which is to be a territory without Covid-19. It is a place where one can live a “normal” life, without having to wear a mask nor respecting social distances. Hence this implies to be particularly vigilent with new arrivals from the Marion Dufresne, only vessel serving the subantarctic islands.
That is why it has been decided that all personnel wanting to come to the TAAF must spend a 14 days quarantine followed by a negative PCR test at the end. These 14 days being spent at la Réunion, we will arrive two weeks prior to the Marion’s departure and will stay at the Ermitage Boutik Hotel, fully booked by the French Polar Institute. This will allow us to be able to move around the hotel while wearing a mask and even taking turns to enjoy the swimming pool, a chance that our friends going to Antarctica will not have. Indeed their quarantine is taking place in Australia where they are forbidden to open their windows and are not allowed to go out of their rooms except accompanied by a guard and only to go outside in a 5m long enclosure.
During our stay we will receive a number of training materials in order to better prepare ourselves for the handover with the previous overwinterers, but we will still have a lot of free time. A routine will slowly start to take place based on the time to eat our meals, so together with Luc, the IT guy going to Amsterdam island, we will start to propose riddles everyday at 9am in order to entertain everybody (ourself included, we will usually spend about an hour per day on it). Laser, sudoku or even Tinder will be on the menu as we will try to propose new concepts everyday in order to guide the participants around the hotel to find the hidden stamps. I will not explain any further what the stamps are here, but most of us have created personal stamps and the first group to find the hidden location of the day will have the right to stamp the paper that will be used the next day.
Another major event during our stay will be the 24h Grand Raid Ermitage Boutik Hotel. This event is based on the “Grand Raid” that will happen at the same time as our quarantine, a big running event crossing La Réunion with a 168km run with a 9611m elevation gain. Our own reduced version will be a 24h long event with a 12h swimming session followed by 12h of running, all done in relay.
We will be about a dozen participants, swimming a total of 30km and running 110km. I will (modestly) be one of them, swimming 1km and running 7km.
Finally, even if we could not go out of the hotel perimeter we had the chance to admire part of the beautiful “wild” nature of the island.
After these two weeks spent at La Réunion it will be time for us to go for a two weeks trip on the Marion Dufresne in order to reach our next home, the TAAF1.
French Southern and Antarctic Lands ↩︎