Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The Russians are docking...

Yesterday, we finished the avtur. And then some recycling, for good measure. After that, our Halley V relief came to an end. Hooray!

So, when we woke up this morning, there was nothing to do! We sat around and joked about it for awhile, and then everyone set up with things to do to enjoy their "day off" - at the ship, at least.

I found it difficult to occupy myself. I read a book for a little bit, then got bored. Then I re-read my thesis, just for a lark. Messed around with Matlab for a bit. Shaved off my 2.5-month-old beard. Thought my hair looked a bit funny, so I got out my scissors and sawed at the sides a bit. Paced the ship. Wandered around the ice shelf with Rich and a few others. Took these pictures:

This bird is a skua. It came very close to us, circling our snowmobile and then landing nearby. We all delicately extracted our cameras, hoping not to scare it off. Then, when we got our fill of "landed skua" shots, we got closer, so that it would fly away and we'd have some airborne shots. However, it showed no inclination to do so. In fact, it sat down and looked at us insolently. So, we snapped off a few "sitting skua" shots and left. Probably sitting there still! We could have rushed it to make it take off, but I believe we're not legally allowed to do so! Damn bird probably knew it, too. Smartass.

Finally, at the end of our "shift", there was one last delivery of some cabooses to take down to the ship, so we saddled up and skidoo'd up to the shelf. And, when we got back, hauling a caboose, the final guest to our 2007-8 Antartic party was just arriving. Everyone, meet the Russian ship Anderma:

Biggest ship to ever come to this part of the Antarctic, I'm sure (I'm sure the significance of this was lost on the penguins in the foreground). The Anderma had been stuck in the ice for quite some time, but broke free earlier today and sped down here, arriving at 8pm. On this huge ship sits Halley VI, and with three cranes onboard, and three of us Snow Cat teams, I predict we'll be quite busy bringing it off tomorrow.

Good thing, too. Don't think I'd have any hair left if I had to have another day off.


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