Saturday, November 26, 2011

39 - Bit more on the trip south, Resupply and a Hagg ride


Hello friends,

Still a little behind where I am at, however I don't want to overload you with too much this early in the season. SO I thought I would start with a couple things I left off last blog and in particular I refer to more ship antics! Firstly I though I would show you all a selection of pics from the bridge taken at night while in the ice. I thought these were cool and think they captured the moment well.

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Tom Luttrell
Pic Tom Luttrell

Motoring through the ice, hearing the ice rubbing against the hull and having the massive spot lights on was kind of freaky. Think not knowing exactly where we were in relation to the massive ice bergs that only hours earlier had been all around us. The ship’s crew were calm and collected as they had a secret weapon that the Titanic didn't have, radar.

We also had a Bob......................what’s a Bob you might ask. Well Bob is out Canadian Twin Otter Pilot or twatter as we call them and he did a rec flight directing us to the leeds in the ice. Leeds is where there is open water and where the ship travels fastest. Here is a pic Bob took of us when he did his fly over.
Pic Bob Heath

Well enough of that moving on now to resupply. We finally pulled in on Tuesday well pulled within 10km of station which was 6km too far. Problem was that we were both in hard ice and also we didn't want to damage the ice to much as we had heavy loads to move over it. So after a gentle 24 hours pushing through it we finally made it. However by that stage i had been flown off by chopper to get signed off of all the machines that i was to be driving through resupply.

Resupply here is very different to Casey, much much easier. As the ship parks in the ice no barge is needed and the containers can be lowered off the ship directly onto the waiting trucks but why don't you see for yourself. The video your about to watch is one i did while driving the crane. Horse AKA David Barringhaus driving the truck and young Timmy New dogging me on the crane.

Enjoy.............

Video Michael Goldstein

Resupply finished and 800,000 litres of SAB(Special Antarctic Blend) fuel transferred which unlike Casey can be done simultaneously as cargo opps, RTA (Return To Australia) cargo loaded and the ship was turned around 2-3 day early. We on the other hand took some well earned rest from a massive effort from all involved, which is all of the station. I didn’t even see the ship turn around and take off I was that buggered I was too busy studying the back of my eye lids.
Wednesday the 16th Rowdy had arranged a little trip to the Sørsdal Glacier 


Pic AAD web site

The red outline is the Sørsdal Glacier and the blue circle is where we stopped..........

The Sørsdal Glacier is a glacier about 15 km wide, flowing WNW and terminating in a prominent glacier tongue south of Crooked Fjord and the Vestfold Hills. Discovered and charted in February, 1935, by a Norwegian expedition under Captain Klarius Mikkelsen. Named Sørdsdalbreen after Lief Sørsdal, a Norwegian dentist and a member of the party which landed at the northern end of the Vestfold Hills. (AAD web site)

Also this obviously means back in the old days they held their dentists in high regard too don't you think!!!!!!! Anyway was a very nice ride down there and here is a little video of that trip.........

Video Michael Goldstein

The were a couple other pics and some that were worthy of a little more of a highlight here so............below is a pic is looking at the ice cliffs of the Sørsdal Glacier

Pic Michael Goldstein

One of the things you have to do is drilling the sea ice to ensure the quality of ice and thickness. Here is Rowdy doing the easy way.................with a battery drill attached to the ice drill!

Pic Michael Goldstein

That's a 1m drill bit and there was much more ice under foot than that.

Pic Michael Goldstein

On an island near where we parked there was many Snow Petrels who have begun to nest or were about to nest. Here is one I caught in the air.

Pic Michae Goldstein

And several i caught on the ice resting...............

Pic Michael Goldstein

Looking at the side of the glacier you can see the crevasses and how hard it would be to have crossed one when they were first discovering Antarctica.

Pic Michael Goldstein

This little fella is a Adelie penguin who jumped up onto the ice while i was trying to take pics of the lonesome Emperor penguin who didn't want his photo taken. Every time we got ready to take a shot he would turn his back but i did manage to get that one in the video.

Pic Michael Goldstein

This is a little arty one............but it is the ice. For some reason it doesn't seem to freeze smooth like where i was living in Canada on the Great Lakes it is like it snap froze a still moving body of water and that's how it stayed till it eventually melts out.

Pic Michael Goldstein

This one was the last burg we saw before heading back to station and as you can tell its dusk, at around 11pm but it was perfect timing as far as i was concerned.

Pic Michael Goldstein

Around the wharf area is a wallow for Elephant seals. During resupply the weather was nice and warm and there was a good melt already set into the area. Normally there isn’t much of a smell as the air is so unpolluted here. HOWEVER anywhere downwind from a penguin rookery and now I’m learning about Elephant seal wallows. It started smelling like a old wet smelly German Sheppard.

On our way home we come up off the sea ice and we were greeted by one lonesome male Elle seal, only a month early. Hopefully his mates won’t be too far away as I’m looking forward to getting some good pics of these guys along with the smell once this fella gets a couple to 30 + mates here!!!

Pic Michael Goldstein

Right now the last thing I wanted to talk about is 100 years, yep 100 years on 2nd of December Mawson departed Hobart bound to explore this incredible place. I often think of what they must have gone through compared to our living, sleeping motorized transport, power, and heat and eating arrangements. You’ll notice that this will be popping up in the news more over the coming weeks and here is a couple links I’ve found already.........

Sydney Morning Herald article on members of Mawsons' expedition partyBorder Mail article on members of Mawsons' expedition partyKitting out of expeditioners

Well time for me to get some sleep as i have a big weekend planned sooooooo maybe next blog we might actually be up to date and ill put this trip in.......

Hope you all are well, take care.

Michael

P.S............"Our duty is to proceed...as if limits to our ability do not exist." 
                 Teilhard de Chardin