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.


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7:02 pm  

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