Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WAIS - Dec 9, 2008 - Logan

Logan Mitchell

Date: 12-9-2008
Location: WAIS Divide, Antarctica
Time: 11 pm
Latitude: 79°28’1.2”S
Longitude: 112°5’6.0”W
Elevation: 1,759m
Animals: Arctic Turn or Snow Petrol
Breakfast: Eggs and hashbrowns
Lunch: Cheese sandwiches w/ calmative olives
Supper: Ribs, vegetables, and Thai fish soup.

I woke up to another perfect weather day. There was no wind to speak of and bluebird skies all day long. In the morning Marie, Susanne and I set up our tents. The tents we are staying in are called Arctic Ovens and are some of the most burly (and heavy) tents that I’ve ever seen. Think of a modern version of a Scott tent. They are very big as well, with the floor about 9’ x 9’ and about 5’ tall. This is especially nice because I can almost stand up in the tent which will make it easier to change in the tent. They are yellow and very bright, and I wonder if I will be able to sleep? Eventually I’ll get tired enough I guess. I can’t express how nice it was to finally unpack my bags and organize myself in my tent. For the past 3 weeks I’ve been living out of heavy duffel bags that were overflowing, checking in and out of rooms, and getting on so many flights that I was never really organized and it always took me a long time to find anything which is really frustrating for someone who is used to not bringing a lot of things on long trips and being very organized. It’s just so nice to be organized now and know that I’ll be here for about 7 weeks.

Things are coming along with getting the drill set up and hopefully we will be able to drill our first meter of core on Friday. We’ll see.

At ~3pm a LC-130 arrived with the final load of ice core handlers and drillers. Now we have the entire crew here who will be working on the ice core. The camp population is 52 people right now including us and the camp staff (cooks, medics, mechanics, electricians, etc). Meeting all of these people and seeing all of the equipment and infrastructure that is needed to drill an ice core is really making it sink into my mind just how valuable ice from an ice core really is, and it certainly is giving me a greater appreciation for how precious the samples that I measure are.

While we were setting up our tents we saw an awesome snow white bird which had long angular tapered wings, but nobody here knows if it was an Arctic Turn or Snow Petrol. The weather for the past few days has been excellent so it didn’t get blown in on a storm, it must have flown here from the coast. I’m not sure exactly how far it is, but I think it is a few hundred miles! I have no idea why it would fly this far inland, or what it eats on the way, but I feel fortunate to have seen it! I think it is a good omen for the drilling season.

From now on the other core handlers will be writing some of the blog entries along with me. Hopefully they will give a different perspective on things and make the blog a little more interesting than my skattered notes. :-) In a week or so I’ll send a couple CDs of photos back to the U.S. so they can be added to the blog.

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