And, in this last week, there is a lot of wind (unrelated to previous post). 40-50 knots of it, to be exact. And now I see why the handlines are installed to get between buildings. You can't see a damn thing. I woke up this morning being gently rocked by the wind - along with the rest of the Laws building where we live. That'll happen when you put a building on stilts!
I woke up at 6am, suddenly remembering something I left outside. In fact, a lot of things - a whole box sledge full of expensive GPS equipment. I was convinced that, by this time, this equipment would be blown 20km away, off the ice shelf, and now floating in the Antarctic Sea. But no; it was still securely fastened with a tarpaulin and a clove-hitch knot that Toddy taught me during training. Knots are useful things! Think I'll learn a few more.
Anyway, perfect timing for this storm, as my melt-tank duty finished yesterday. After Saturday's ordeal, yesterday was a breeze. And I now have pictures for Saturday's melt tank ordeal. Here is Jim, exulting in his triumphant clearing of some random level (5 down from the surface, say?) of melt tank tube:
That's the tube on the right, there; Pete is on poking duty at the moment. I don't know why it looks like it's snowing in there. When we finished, Jim gave us the 1p tour of the tunnels. -Not- recommended for the claustrophobic! The tunnels have partially caved in, and other parts are slowly getting crushed. Here is a part that isn't.
Casual access is not allowed - with our melt tank issues, we had a legitimate reason to be there. These tunnels connect all the buildings and allow access to the fuel, stored in a big rubber waterbed here:
Somewhere else is the onion, the bizarrely named final destination of our black water. Our poo, in other words. I chose not to take a picture of the onion, so we'll all have to imagine what it looks like. And, like me, I'm sure you are all picturing a large Spanish onion. At some point in the last 20 years, though, a black water line exploded and poo went flying everywhere. And they couldn't clean it all up. So, the tunnels have a slightly poo-tinged smell to them. But not much of that. Actually, for some reason, between the cold, the look of corrugated steel, and the odd smell, it reminded me of a hallway to a changeroom at a hockey rink.
Once we finished, we had a brief quiet lunch - most of the winterers were off on a penguin trip, which we were denied, thanks to the melt tank. But I'm still just lucky that I got my chance - I probably won't, in following years.
And with any luck, I'll never have to empty a melt tank tube again, either.