Saturday, December 13, 2008

WAIS - Dec 13, 2008 - Susanne

Susanne Lilja Buchardt

Date: 13th of December 2008
Location: WAIS Divide field camp
Time: 19.30
Latitude: 79°28’1.2”S
Longitude: 112°5’6.0”W
Elevation: 1,759m
Temperature: -22°C ( °F)
Wind speed: 3 kt
Visibility: Good
Clouds: Thin clouds
Wind direction: Roughly from the North
Relative Humidity: 75%
Precipitation: Ice crystals falling, making a halo around the sun
Animals: Crazy scientists
Breakfast: Eggs, potatoes
Lunch: Burritos
Supper: Pizza and minestrone soup

Today we woke up to a beautiful day with a little more wind than the last few days. Everybody had slept very well, and we soon found out why. The generator by the arch had stopped running sometime during the night making it nice and quiet in ‘tent city’ where most people in camp sleep. Tent city is located a few minutes’ walk from the centre of camp. To many of us the very centre of camp is the galley, which is heated, and where everybody eats. Around the galley there are other heated jamesway buildings (like a very big tent) housing offices, medical equipment, showers and some sleeping quarters. Some 300 m from the galley we find the arch where the ice core drilling and core handling takes place. Since the generator was not running, there were no lights in the arch, so we could not continue our work in there and it was evident, that the first ice core would not be drilled today as we had hoped. We decided to go make sure our tents could withstand a storm, because the forecast said that we could expect strong winds in the afternoon. After about an hour, our tents looked good and the generator was up and running again, making it possible to continue making core trays ready to receive the ice core, which will hopefully start coming up early next week.

In the afternoon the people working in the arch (drillers and core handlers) did an emergency exercise. The medical crew in camp had arranged a scenario with three people acting the victims of an accident with a falling ladder. It was then the task of the arch crew to tend to them as good as possible. The camp medical crew was there, but just as everyone thought professional assistance was readily available, we found out that they were only there to film the events, so we were truly on our own. It was a very good exercise, and I think we learnt a lot from it – if nothing else, it showed how vulnerable we can be out here in the middle of nowhere, and that being dressed for Antarctic conditions does not make it easier to check for signs of life… After the exercise we all gathered to watch the film taken during the exercise to assess what was good and what could be done better.

After that we enjoyed a nice Saturday night dinner, and now I can hear laughter and loud voices from the galley which means I have been blogging for too long and that it is time to join the party.

Final comment: We never saw anything of the storm today – maybe we will tomorrow?

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