(video courtesy of Tim Gee, the cameraman and fellow melt-tank digger)
Ah, it's good to be back. Even when I'm doing melt-tank duty in 30 knot winds. I'm the one in orange, there, vainly pulling on the rope attached to the melt-tank lid, which is buried under at least five feet of snow. Once we get to it, then we open it, and the real shovelling begins.
Yes, we have left the namby-pamby Rothera base, with its mountains and balmy weather, for real Antarctica - Halley!
This is actually my favourite time and place to be south - the first group into Halley. There are eighteen of us on base at the moment, 11 winterers and 7 new arrivals. We're still on 9 to 5 (in theory) hours, and everyone congregates at the bar at night. I've even got a room to myself! For the moment. It's time like this that I wonder if I should winter at Halley. But such wonderings are brief.
As comfortable as I am, the clock is ticking before I leave. And upon arrival in stellar weather conditions, the weather promptly crapped out and has been the wonderful conditions shown in the above video. So I'm base bound.
I was supposed to leave on Christmas day. However, as happens in Antarctic logistics, everything has been delayed. The Twin Otter planes require a certain designation before flying over here. The Shackleton has a defective part holding it back. So I might get a reprieve. My sites are named A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,and I; I shall keep a running tally of how many I can get to before I am shipped out. I think I'll hit them all.
Regarding my trip over here from Rothera, I see no need to post pictures or describe the experience when Kirk Watson, our field assistant and cameraman, has already done so professionally. Especially since I have the longest dialog bit in his video!