Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Easy part complete!

Relief is done. At least the easy part of it.

Over the past six days (I had to check my calender to find out the number!), we have emptied the ship of incoming cargo, pumped out fresh fuel, man handled the blasted drums and backloaded with waste for recycling.

Christmas didn't affect our schedule, but Jules cooked some fantastic fresh fish as all the turkeys had gone up to base. Where they ate well.

Progress has generally been good, but all driving teams have had late finishes when trying to get that "one last" sledge emptied prior to clocking off. The Cats are surviving well, thanks to Scott and Bryan's constant care.

Snowcat getting serviced

But, as ever, for each low there's a high. And my high was about 25metres of solid icecliff that Toddy and I got out to play on after Christmas Day's work was done. Take one bombproof belay, add an easy ramp to start, heat up with a slightly over-vertical crux and garnish with penguins and a view. Christmas was good.

Christmas Treat!

There were fun and games tonight. Just as work was over and I finished relaxing in the sauna, Toddy banged on my door: The ship was threatened by closing ice and needed to move, and the skidoos needed running back to the shelf. Pulling work kit back on, we ran down the gang plank, gunned the engines and made the caboose in record time. On returning on one Skidoo, the crane was ready to winch it aboard as Captain Marshall, woken from his bed, paced the bridge ordering fenders raising and the ship ready for sea.

Floes closing in like a jigsaw

As it happened, the main floe has passed us by. But as I sign off and head for dinner there were another few, so the view from my porthole could be very different in the morning.

Merry Christmas and Merrier New Year to everyone back home, and all random readers!


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