Thursday, January 22, 2009

WAIS - Jan 22, 2009 - John

Name: John Fegyveresi

Date: Jan 22, 2009
Location: WAIS Divide
Latitude: 79° 28’ 1.2” S
Longitude: 112° 5’ 6.0” W
Elevation: 1,759 m
Borehole depth: 1512 m

Woo Hoo!!!! We've drilled the last ice core of the season today at a depth of 1512 meters!

Hello Everyone! It's John here again for what will by my last Blog entry. First off let me start off by saying that I was actually supposed to be back in McMurdo today. Last night we were supposed to get a flight here at WAIS and I was scheduled to be on it. We had some rather quirky weather and only had a very small window open up for the flight. The plane made it all the way here, but just as it was about to land, a thick fog rolled in limiting the visibility too much for a safe landing. The plane circled over the camp for an hour and a half and finally turned around and headed back to McMurdo. Of course as fate would have it....about 30 minutes after the plane turned around, the fog broke and it became clear here at camp.

With all this being said, I'm quite glad that I got stuck here and was able to be here for such an important and exciting day. At about 10 pm tonight, the drillers pulled up the final ice core of the season from a depth of 1512 meters. We went in to this ice-core drilling season with a lot of questions. No one knew just how bad the brittle ice was going to be and everyone was unsure of just how far we'd get. An ambitious goal of reaching 1500 meters by January 23rd was set at the beginning of the season. To be able to surpass this goal...and a day ahead of schedule is a huge accomplishment for everyone here at camp and says a lot about the determination of everyone here.

About an hour before the final core was drilled, a whole crew from camp headed up to the arch to prepare for the big celebration. We all gathered around the drill and took a whole slew of photos and videos as the core was finally brought to the surface. Once it was passed into the handling side of the arch, we all made a toast and listened while
Bruce gave a speech congratulating everyone. Some awards were also given out for categories like "Best Ice Core Dancers", and "Longest Amount of Time in the Cold", etc. It really was a great night for everyone.

The celebration did end up closing down quickly however. A lot of people at camp (myself included) were up until 5:00 am last night waiting to see if the plane was going to land. This meant that a lot of people were very tired today. To make matters worse, the weather took a bad turn today and went incredibly south. We've had sustained 20-25 knot winds today, with blowing snow, and less than 1/4 mile visibility. The plane that didn't land last night probably won't come now until at least Saturday. Everyone made their way back to camp from the Arch after the celebration where we've all gathered in the Rec to watch a classic film, "The Princess Bride".

This really has been a great day and I'm thrilled that I was here (and not back in McMurdo). On a personal note I just want to add that my experience here at WAIS Divide (and in Antarctica) has been incredible....and that's mostly due to the amazing people that I've been surrounded by. Every one of the core handlers, drillers, and camp staff, has been such good people and I sincerely hope that many of us come back next year. There's also been a lot of talk in the air about hiking and I'm very much hoping to cross paths with a few WAIS folks on the trails once we get back New Zealand.

So, I guess that's it. Thanks for keeping up on the blog, and I'm honored that I was able to write updates for you all!

Take care everyone!


For anyone interested....I also have been trying to keep my blog up to date as well. Check it out if you want:

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