Hello everyone! This is the first of a series of diary entries for the Biosphere Expeditions Slovakia 2015 expedition or for the full title: True white wilderness: tracking lynx, wolf and bear in the Carpathian mountains of Slovakia. I hope you are all as excited as I am with the anticipation of embarking on this adventure.
So let’s get the introductions out of the way: My name is Paul and I will be your expedition leader. Although I have led expeditions to Slovakia in previous years for Biosphere Expeditions, these were in the summer and studied the impact of wolf predation on the chamois population of the Low Tatra mountain range. I will be ably assisted by Astrid, a veteran of this very expedition for the last two years (she will be the one who heads off in the ‘correct’ direction from the base on the first day! Don’t worry though I am a fast learner!). Tomas is our expedition scientist with whom we will share interesting tales and who will guide us through our research objectives and methods during our initial training day. Then most importantly ‘you all’ without whom none of this would be happening, including some of you ‘coming back for more’ (so it can’t be that bad!).
Astrid and I are flying out from the UK to Austria tomorrow. Some kit is being packed in Germany as we speak (see below) and the rest is already in Slovakia.
The German kit, Astrid and I will unite in Vienna with two brand spanking new Land Rovers tomorrow, kindly supplied by Land Rover Austria, and then we’ll push onto base, where we will meet with Tomas and our host Frantisek. We’ll then have a couple of days to prepare before one of us (probably Astrid) will meet group 1 at Bratislava main train station at 09:00, as per your dossier. Once in Slovakia, we’ll check our mobiles and send you our local numbers for emergency communication too.
The good news is that there is snow in the Veľká Fatra study site (see webcam http://www.panorama.sk/sk/sprievodca/webkamera-malino-brdo/2462) and the forecast is for more snow and subzero temperatures (https://www.meteoblue.com/en/slovakia/weather-veľká-fatra).
So I will leave you to carry on with your preparations (pack warm!) while we do the same at our end. If you are all packed and ready to go you can always fill your time watching ‘You Tube’ videos of how to turn around wearing snowshoes without face planting in the snow. Let the adventure begin!