Saturday, October 20, 2007

A quick weekly round-up

And another week has gone! Looking at the wall chart I see only one week of "winter" remains before aircraft arrive and the summer season starts in full swing. A little more concerning is the ship will arrive in only eight weeks and there's still a massive list of jobs to be done. But we're working well and if the weather holds, it'll be fine.

This week's been good. As part of decommissioning the science programmes, we headed out to recover a remote barometer about 8km off site. Blinding sunlight made the horizon shimmer with mirages, causing the small weather station to occasionally vanish from view. Thankfully I had a GPS with the position memorised kept tucked down my boot to keep warm (LCD screens don't like the -20Cs). The coordinates were spot on and with a kilometer to go, the mast popped back into view dead ahead.

Ant and Dean preparing to recover the Radio Barograph

I had hoped to dismantle the mast at site, but the winter has given our clothes such a trashing my hand popped straight through my jacket pocket where the allen keys should have been! A bit of a problem, but nothing a bit of imaginative lashing and careful driving couldn't cope with.

The rest of the Simpson team have been flat out too. Tams and Kirsty have taken the quarterly snow samples from the Clean Air Sector (which we'll send to NOAA in America for chemical analysis) and Tom's been grabbing every opportunity to fly his UAV (more on this later).

We still found time to relax though. The Ice Cave was opened for the last time before the area is leveled - the perfect place to relax after a busy day.

Ant rediscovering the Ice Cave

As more snow has built up on top of the cave, the entrance has got more and more interesting with each visit. To get in, you step under a tarpaulin (to keep the snow out), squeeze through a hatch, climb down a ladder then slide on your bum down a ramp, bursting through a draft curtain into the cave itself!

Relaxing after a busy week

As I've said before "science never stops", but when Tamsin bounced into dinner and announced ozone levels were dropping, I wished it would take a break! Grumpy thoughts soon left my head as we pulled the blimp out into a perfect evening.

Sending up the instruments in fantastic evening light

I'm shall have to make the most of these sunsets, as from November we wont get them anymore. The sun will just dip, circle south and then rise to the north again. Good news for midnight kiting!

Tamsin checks the lines

After almost a month of appalling weather, I'm really enjoying the spring.

Tamsin, Dean and a top sunset


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