It was the quietest of times; it was the busiest of times.
This past week has been a bit quiet on the work front. Now that the Twin Otter has arrived, the weather has decided not to co-operate, and we've only managed one of our science trips so far.
However, the main base is now a hotbed of activity - all of the pre-ship people are now here, bringing our population up to about 70. The dining room is completely full at mealtimes, with more people waiting outside. It would be slightly claustrophobic for me, if I didn't have my trusty Simpson building to hang out in. Which is where I am now, writing this with the building to myself.
But back to the one trip we did do. About a week ago, we made it out to Stancomb-Wills, to hit some of my sites:
We wanted to hit all 5 sites, but only managed A and B. "A" was just a raising trip - we go out there, and dig up the half-buried device and reset it on the snow surface. So we did. The main bits of the devices are a big box full of batteries under the snow.
...it was only about a metre deep, so no big deal.
"B" had two separate sensors; one to be moved to "C", and another to be moved to "D". The latter device is none other than Antarctic Aluminum Pole, of Facebook fame. If you're on Facebook, you can look him up, and ask to be his friend. He doesn't say much, though.
He'll be posting these pictures too, but here's his view of our arrival:
...and here he is with his rescuer, Ben Mapston, coming to dig:
He was about two meters deep. Ian, the pilot, did most of the digging, as Ben and I were digging the other station beside it. Here's the hole, with a shovel in it:
Hard to appreciate the hole, in flat white light, but Ian digs a very neat, round hole. Everyone has a digging style and method, and Ben and I were much more reckless and wide.
By the time we got the equipment recovered, the contrast went - you can see it yourself, comparing the hole picture with picture of "A" above. If you're landing a plane on an unknown snow surface, which would you prefer? The hole is just as invisible in real life as it is in the above picture, I might add. Wouldn't be good to land on it.
Anyway, without contrast, all we could do is go home. I hadn't told Ben that this pole was the Antarctic pole of Facebook fame until now - slipped my mind - so when he found out he asked for a picture of us together. So here it is.
We were going to take it into the bar for a few drinks, but since then the weather has crapped out too much to even get to the skiway again. But maybe we'll bring him in for a quick Guinness before sending him back to site D on Stancomb.