Sunday, October 30, 2011

Packing for the summer camping trip

We spent all day packing and weighing gear. There will be about 5 helo loads (helo is the term used for helicopter down here) to get it out to Cape Royds. We are at Cape Royds for 3 weeks then at Scott’s for the remaining time. We use a Bell 212, basically a civil huey operated by the yanks. It is a serious amount of gear to take, about ten thousand pounds.
We put up 7 Scott Polar Tents to check them out before we live in them till Feb. It has dawned on me that going out camping for 3 months is a long time and there is a lot to think about. That means Xmas and New Year’s too. Coms will be minimal, only radio with Scott Base and sat phone. Also means showers will be non-existent.
Meeting lots of people, heaps of similar aged people which surprised me, I am about the only one without a PhD. A team is heading to a field camp at Roosevelt Island tomorrow. It is 800km’s away, they fly in ski Herc’s and Baslier’s which are a turbo-prob DC3. They are drilling ice cores 700m deep, going back at least 30 thousand years. They are camping on an ice mountain dome. There is nothing; they look over the horizon to whiteness.
Tonight we walked up to Observation hill which is probably the next most historic site after the huts. It has a large cross erected by Scott’s crew after he failed to return from the pole. It is 100 years later that I am at the same place.
Next we walked/slid down the hill to Mac town (Kiwi’s version of McMurdo). We checked out the amazing array of vehicles. They use a lot of fuel and they have enough for 2 years in case the icebreaker can’t get in or they go to war, no jokes. We went to the bar and yarned with a couple of friendly yanks. They brought us a Coors beer. The place is like an Alaskan mining town and the people match that description. It is literally like crossing the border. They have fuel lines and power lines everywhere which they are very protective of. The fuel line goes out to the ice runway and contains 10 thousand gallons so a rupture would be catastrophic.
The king of Malaysia and PM of Normay are coming down at some stage. The NZ high commission has given us special instruction to behave ourselves and they are very strict about pork contaminants.
Tomorrow we will finish the rest of the packing to be off on Tuesday. After that picts and updates will be scarce but I will be posting some CD’s to NZ to get uploaded.
I bet it is warming up back there, it is here too, got up to -15 deg C today, -35 deg C wind-chill, which is the killer.
more photos see;

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