Friday, January 16, 2009

WAIS - Jan 16, 2009 - Gifford

Name: Gifford J Wong

Date: 16 January 2009
Location: WAIS Field Camp (Science Tent)
Latitude: 79°28’1.2”S
Longitude: 112°5’6.0”W
Elevation: 1,759m
Borehole depth: ~1330m
Wind speed: negligible
Visibility: Seems like miles and miles!
Breakfast: scrambled eggs (with extra Hot Peri Peri Nando sauce!), toast w/ Nutella, and orange juice.

Well… Friday was a full day, to be sure. Our work days are going incredibly well… in fact, today after lunch we asked the drillers to drill a full 2.5 meters in one, continuous run. In the past, due to the brittleness of the ice, we had the drillers “break” the core for us as they drilled. While this helped preserve to the best extent possible the integrity of the core, it took a little more time and required more “finesse”, if you will, from the talented drillers. With the help of some useful charting of ice core quality, the decision was made to drill a “full-length” core and cut the core at our “1m station” (refer back to a previous blog for details). The first cut… a success! No “reaction” from the core save for two beautifully flat faces! It was marvelous because the drillers can now drill “full runs” saving precious time and we get to inject something new to our daily routine – using a chop saw!
This bodes well for our target depth this season…

After dinner, Dave Ferris (driller this season, core “wrangler” last season) presented his talk on the history of Antarctica. It focused on the fabled exploits of the early Antarctic explorers, leaving out the obvious names of Scott, Shackleton, and Amundsen. It was a fascinating tale that started with James Cook (and James T. Kirk) and ended with us at WAIS, more or less. History is an incredibly fascinating canvas, and Antarctic history is so compact and “portable”. Woven into Dave’s tale were little hints at how early Antarctic exploration colors today’s Antarctic Treaty System. From the original signatories to today’s growing club, history plays an important role – and I love that!

Finally… after much wrangling, Bess, Jonathon (Met Tech), John F and I got a chance to “practice” our improv skit for this Sunday’s Coffeehouse. I know it sounds a bit oxymoronic, but the fact of the matter is you have to practice improv with your improv partners so that “being on the same page” evolves from a wish to a reality. Despite only being able to have 2 or 3 practices before this Sunday, tonight’s “rehearsal” (the first) seemed to reflect the existing playful nature that Bess alluded to yesterday – thank goodness! Here are to huge laughs!

Anyhow, this is a snapshot of my Friday… I suppose it is getting late, but the take home message is we’re actually winding down with the end in sight. The last four carts of empty trays stand lonely adjacent to carts upon carts laden with ice cores! That is a sight that I couldn’t quite imagine at the start of the season. The calendar that lists potential flights actually has my name on it… and the projected date is just over a week away. Another sight I could hardly imagine when I first stepped off the LC-130 onto the WAIS Camp flightline. Crazy… but there you go – another (2nd to last) Friday at WAIS Divide.


No comments: