Field Update: Jan. 7, 2011

I received some feedback from people who started thinking about the implications of us having to make our own drinking water. Here’s another view of the water tank in the tri-wall cardboard box, right after re-filling it with snow. The box and tank are all on a pallet so we can easily move it from site to site when we have to move camp. When we’re not filling the tank, we close the tank and box and hold the flaps down with cargo straps.

The system has worked extremely well all season, with the exception of a few stuck valves or cracked pipes that had to be replaced by Hedley, who maintains all of the plumbing and electrical systems around camp.

Every now and then we also open up the living quarters to air them out – this just means opening the doors at the end of the containers, which exposes four of the berths, which are arranged one on top of the other in pairs. There’s a small passage between them that leads to the other two bunks and a place to hang up your clothes, but there’s really not much more space. It’s actually quite comfortable though, and there’s a reading light and small shelf at the end of each bunk to put your book, reading glasses, or other essentials.

The food that needs to stay frozen is buried in the snow in boxes for storage.

When Russell needs any frozen supplies, he just digs into a box and finds what he wants. When the weather is good, we can have a BBQ feast!!

Getting outside, without wind, to enjoy hamburgers cooked on the grill is a rare treat, and one that Graham, Dar and Chris eagerly accept. Russell finds a seat on the towbar of a sled, while Nate balances the load and rehydrates.

The work continues in the MECC, and meals are delivered to those at work monitoring the hot water drill system (JR and Nate) and transferring the hydrophone to its storage reel for shipment to McMurdo (Wallis and Nate).

Life and work are fully integrated at the ANDRILL camp and the people adapt well to their daily routines. The mixture of projects that have been accomplished over the course of the season has provided variety, as the work constantly changes, even though the basics stay the same – melt a hole through the ice shelf, put something down into the hole, pull it up again, move to the next deployment or the next site. It’s all gone very well and has been very successful. There’s about a month left to go and then we pack up and traverse back to finish the season the way we began. The next week or so will be fairly quiet – the camp will be moved back to Site #1 and we’ll prepare to melt the hole around the NIWA mooring prior to its recovery. Once the oceanographers return, we’ll be ready to continue.

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