Saturday, November 19, 2011

Camp Move (attempt)

Camp Move

We finished the work at Shacklton’s Nimrod hut on Thursday. This is quite an achievement for the trust, the first fully completed conservation project. We began the massive task of packing up camp on Friday. Everything gathered in flight piles. Flying all the gear is a challenging task as we must make sure all the weights are known and within the helo limitations. The New Zealand EC130 helicopter is down for the summer so they will do the camp move, slightly smaller than the Bell 212. Planned for 5 flights to Cape Evans. It is only a 15 minute flight. Most of the bulk is under slung in nets. On Saturday we were up and ready but the flight was cancelled due to flat light – basically when the visibility is low and everything is white resulting in difficulty gauging depth perception and the horizon for the pilot. We had all but one tent down so we put up another to sleep in. Later in the afternoon it started snowing and unusual for here there was no wind. It is really light and fluffy so when it blows around it gathers in huge drifts in the lee of tents, rocks, hills etc. It also means if we have significant wind in the next couple of days it will be whiteout. The sun came out yesterday afternoon which was amazing. It snowed overnight and today we have mostly been in the small survival shelter/hut, drinking cups of tea. It is overcast and quite cold. An American helicopter came in just after lunch with DV’s (distinguished quests), the heads of the USAP (US Antarctic Program including the head of NASA). It was amazing seeing the helicopter come in, it created a cloud of snow from the wash, the helicopter appeared when it had landed. They had a look around the hut and at the penguin colony.

Hopefully the weather is good to fly tomorrow although the forecast is not flash, so we could be here for a few more days, 6 of us living in a 2.4 x 3m space is challenging. The Americans have kindly invited us up for tea and also allowed me to use their sat link.

Photosand video at

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