Field Update: Nov. 22, 2010

Claude Laird, the ground penetrating radar specialist from CReSIS and a member of our original team this year is leaving the camp and flying off the ice in a few days. We decide to have a group photo and set up the camera on a tripod outside the main camp containers. Russell Freeman is still sleeping, so not wanting to wake up the Cook, we go ahead with the picture anyway.

We have been a very effective team so far, and expect things to continue going well as we prepare to welcome a new group, the oceanographers from NIWA (National Institute for Water and Atmosphere, NZ) and WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, US), to camp later today.

The helicopter is inbound to camp with a sling load of cargo, including the tripod and winch for deploying the oceanographic instruments. The cargo is too unwieldy to get into the helo, so it’s hung below on a cable. They’ve added a fin to try to make this load fly more stably, but it seems to swing back and forth as the helo approaches the camp and descends toward landing. The package gets set down on the ice and released while snow billows around the aircraft, and then the helo backs off and lands a short distance away. There are no incoming passengers (PAX) with this flight, but Claude is climbing aboard for his trip back to town. He has outgoing mail from people in camp and messages for folks in McMurdo.

Tamsin chats with the helo pilot as the additional incoming cargo of oceanographic instruments are unloaded and moved away from the helo.

Then it’s time for Claude to depart. We thank him for all of his help with the GPR and for being part of the team that got the season underway and traversed to Coulman High. Then he’s off and we go back to work. Daren and Dar decide to troubleshoot the shot hole drill and I convince Graham to come with me to put marks on all of the flags designating the individual shot hole numbers and the receiver locations, so we head off in the Pisten Bully. The NIWA and WHOI oceanographers will come later in the day and then we’ll start on the oceanographic instrument deployments. Life goes on here at Coulman High and we look forward to the arrival of the next participants to join our team, including Craig Stewart, Saana Maas, Dick Limeburner, and Will Ostrom. With Claude gone and four more people arriving our total camp population will go up to 14 people, the most so far.

We also learn that we’ll be getting a visit from the Communications Shop personnel, who will try to get us an internet connection back to McMurdo – although we know how difficult this will be to achieve – and a visit from the RPSC Environmental Group, who will perform and environmental audit of our camp practices and procedures. There’s always something more we can do, so the rest of the team prepares to run the camera down hole again after seeing the great images that we collected from the previous run yesterday.

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