Friday, December 30, 2005


In a barely believable technological breakthrough, it is now possible to view an enlarged image by clicking on it. Is there no begining to my IT skills......? I'll try to get round to re-doing the previous pics but don't hold your breath.

Been abseiling into crevasses for art but this is the christmas post so the art will follow.

Christmas in Antarctica

The annual 10k race was held on xmas eve this year. 5 laps of the runway although some folk didn't enter into the spirit of the event.

christmas eve 10k race (above)

Then on the day itself, brunch, a Bond film and a walk around the point to work up the appetite, then christmas dinner itself.

So many people have asked what we would be eating, here is a pic of my christmas dinner. No penguin in sight....

All this was made possible (well the alcohol bit anyway) by the JCR arriving a couple of days earlier for our re-supply. The sight of this beautiful ship, easing through the sea-ice, full of stella brought a tear to my eye. The thought of having to drink cider all festive season was too much to even consider.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Back to civilisation......

Just got back from the latest field trip. We were out for a fortnight altogether which included waiting 6 days to get picked up. Lifts down here can get delayed for 3 main reasons :
No available planes
No pilot hours or tired pilots
Bad weather in the field or up at Rothera

Of course we had them all!

The trip started well. The pilot even pretended to not have heard my hillarious comments about landing 'on the ground' or 'on the white bit' before. In order to check the landing area is safe from crevaces, the pilots crank the plane over and drag a ski over the glacier surface while maintening flying airspeed. Then they give it some gas and fly around to check their tracks. If nothing has opened up they try it again or just land if they are feeling lucky. Meanwhile I'm sitting in the co-pilot's seat trying to appear cool while nearly wetting myself with excitment.

Once on the ground there's no niceties. You and the gear gets kicked out, the radio gets checked
then the plane's off leaving you and your beaker (from muppets...) feeling rather alone.

Of course
there's plenty to do. Get the tent up, get the dinner on and crack open the whisky. Although it's worth making sure the tent is perfectly pitched since 'blows' can come from nowhere. We woke to the sound of a 30 knot wind rattling the tent at 4am. There was a brief battle of Sloth vs Paranoia which resulted in the tent getting checked. It maybe howling windy and freezing cold but at least the sun was shining.

The reason for this jolly was 'Terrestrial Biology' ie dirt, moss and lichen. so we rambled around with Kevin staring at the ground, me at the views occasionaly pressing buttons on the GPS to log site locations as he takes dirt samples.

Life on Mars

On the final slopes of Mariner Ridge

Two-Step Cliffs. The route onto the ridge follows the snow on the left.

Getting out the taxi and off to work

New routing potential at Mars Oasis

The sky above the campsite at 1am.....

View from Middle Stork

Descending from Mariner Peak

Sunset?! over the Sea Ice