Friday, July 29, 2016

77 - Trip to Woop Woop and a sneak preview of the sun......

Hello friends

Its been a busy couple week since my last post so this post is more pics than me jibber jabbering on.  So the week before last 4 of us including myself went up to woop woop to retrieve some machines. There was 2 Prinoth snow groomers which we use over summer to make the skiways and a Skid Steer  (Bob Cat but with tracks). Planning had taken place the week before and all the i's had been dotted and t's crossed. We were heading up with 2 Hagglunds and trailers on both.

After a quick stop at Bandits field hut on the way we finally made it up at woop woop finally arriving we had our first look at the machines.

Pic Chris Burnes

We were expecting them to be a little blizzed in. We did see some pics from a month ago but since then things have changed a little, well changed a lot and it wasn't all good.  After being there for 5 minutes Chris found out how big the blizz trails were by slipping down one.....



Then there was the small matter of the machines being blizzed in............

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

So after arriving at 4pm on Tuesday and working through till about 7pm. We weren't going to have light till about 1030am so we decided to have a late start and and after getting one of the groomers out with the help of the skid steer we got going the day before. That took a majority of the day and if we had of had only about another 4 hours we would have got everything out and going. Wasnt going to happen.........

Below is a pic that has been in my mind for sometime. Morning light in the sastrugi or wind blown lumps in the snow. It was the first time in over 40 days we had seen the sun and it was a little bit before the others on station. The sun there didn't actually come up above the horizon for another 5 days as up on the plateau was at 600m elevation
Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Michael Goldstein
 Huts in the line the first little one in the line is what the four of us spent all out time in while up there!!

Pic Chris Burnes



Nice little video I shot up there before the big blow. It gives a good idea what it was like before it got really bad.
video
Video Michael Goldstein

Once it did get bad it basically laid us out for 2 days. The wind picked up to 55+ knots shcking the hut we were in to the point of waking me up. That's fine though as 12 hours sleep a day is ample i think. I did make going outside interesting though.

Pic Michael Goldstein

On the wall of the workshop van there was some nice designs of frost..............

Pic Michael Goldstein
Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein

Pic Michael Goldstein


Pic Michael Goldstein

SO it began to blow........and blow and blow. Was probably around -35c then add the windchill took it to around the -55c so it was a little coolish. The video below shows you how warm we got the hut, and by hot i mean hot as i think we got it to around +33c. So what became interesting is when we opened the door to go to the other hut.....the massive change in temperature was like a instant smoke machine was very cool.......

video
Vid Michael Goldstein

So 2 days and it continued for and 2am Sat morning it stopped enough to start getting ready to leave. Mind you it wasn't until 1030am when we saw how much work we really had to do. We continued from 2am plugging machines into power to start warming the engines, packing up the camp, digging out the machines and loading the sleds....

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes



Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes
SNOW EVERYWHERE............
Pic Chris Burnes


Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes


Pic Chris Burnes
The hole the machine above was in.......

Pic Chris Burnes














Everything loaded up ready to start the long trip back to station.........

Pic Chris Burnes
The Groomer tillers loaded up on their sled.........
Pic Chris Burnes

The two Haggs on our way back......

Pic Chris Burnes

Pic Chris Burnes

SO a brilliant shot here by Chris.........on the first night before the blizz we also had a little aurora and Chris got a great one here.......

Pic Chris Burnes

Finally after starting at 2am we finally rolled onto station at 530pm.........just in time for a cocktail party. Think i ended up only having one drink scoffed some food and i was asleep before i hit the bed. This body isn't made for 15 1/2 hours work and no sleep for 36 hours. I was very happy to be back............

Back on station had a good sleep in on the Sunday, then the blizz followed us down to station. Overnight it blew over a meter onto most blizz trails. What did make it interesting we had a fire alarm go off at 4am in the science building. I was on fire team and i have the position of BA control (looking after the guys air timing and stuff to make sure they don't run out). My position means i buddy up with the Fire Chief and follow him around. So we walk outside after putting on our gear and start down the stairs where we have a  wall of snow we have to clomp over and about a 1' soft snow everywhere. Enough to go over the top of the glacier boot and go into them, not fun until it was deemed to be a false alarm then i do remember laughing at how much snow had collected in the time we had been asleep.

Pic Michael Goldstein
The hut you see in the pic above is actually infront of the dark green building centre of picture. Its a normal 20' container on footings so its probably about 3.5-4m high and all you can see is the vents on the roof......

Pic Michael Goldstein
It's been a busy couple weeks, sleep has been escaping me lately. Sleeping patterns have been all over the shop. Anyway better finish this one here rather than blabber on too much been trying to finish this blog for over a week and sleep has been beating me to it.........

Take Care,

Michael

P.S...........A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
                Steve Martin


Sunday, July 3, 2016

76 - Wrong clouds and my Mid Winters and elections Antarctic Style..........

Hello Friends,

first thing first i'd like to apologize to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Craig our Senior Weather Observer and Aaron our Meteorology Technician and you for misleading you in my last entry. The clouds in my last entry were not Noctilucent but in fact they were Nacreous Clouds. Please forgive me......

SO that in mind now I guess I need to explain what Nacreous clouds. They are still one of the high types of clouds normally floating at around 15-25km not the 80-85 of the Noctilucent ones. Also know as "Mother of pearl" due to the similarities to the way they look.

They can also be man made too, I did read somewhere that the space shuttle has caused them from when the rockets separate. Water coming from the separation of stages in the rockets causes an escape of water and at the altitudes creates Nacreous clouds. Below is a video I found on youtube of exactly that event.



SO Mid Winters begun for me as Slushy, kitchen hand. I had swapped with someone else to make put me in the kitchen though as I though having me in there would help Lesley our Chef. Of course most of it was bakery stuff like the white bread im making below......

Pic Aaron Stanley
And some scrolls here........

Pic Aaron Stanley
Then there was all the goodies Lesley made.....

Pic Aaron Stanley

Pic Aaron Stanley

Pic Aaron Stanley
Pic Aaron Stanley

Pic Aaron Stanley
Pic Aaron Stanley
Pic Aaron Stanley
A couple more of mine here.......

Pic Aaron Stanley

Pic Aaron Stanley
Pic Aaron Stanley
Pic Aaron Stanley
Butter even in the shape of penguins.....

Pic Aaron Stanley
Table set..........

Pic Aaron Stanley
Then there was all the toasts.........

Pic Aaron Stanley
And Ali reading out all the mid winters replies and thanks for all your email including the sneaky ones from Bruce & Sally, Ang & Eyelashes and Greg & Christine .

Pic Aaron Stanley

So were were initially meant to be doing the traditional mid winters swim but unfortunately it was a little cool. It was not only cool -35c but it was also blowing at 15 knots making the windchill in the high -40c's. Swimming was therefor we needed to fill a little time and what better way thank to do a little science and show how to make snow the easy way. Throwing a pot of boiling water into the air when the temp well is cold. Ive done it at -24c but you still get a little water dropping and obviously the colder it is the better it works..........have a look at the science behind why this happens HERE. There is a video there if it happening but below are the pics.......

Pic Aaron Stanley
Pic Aaron Stanley
Pic Aaron Stanley
Pic Aaron Stanley
We did attempt to contact Bill our summer Station Leader but he let it go to answer machine but we did leave a message......

Pic Aaron Stanley
Then the shenanigans begun.........

Pic Aaron Stanley
Pic Aaron Stanley
Pic Aaron Stanley
After much practice........the band was formed we practiced, well we did on the night. First time ive played the drums probably since I was in the Expo 88 marching band.

Pic Aaron Stanley
Deverall lead singer and with glasss like that youd think he would be better playng a banjo.....

Pic Aaron Stanley
Paul sporting his 6 hour beard, on second guitar........

Pic Aaron Stanley
Drums well they came back quick enough!

Pic Aaron Stanley
The 16 crazy people im wintering with...........

Pic Aaron Stanley

So as I mentioned we couldn't do the mid winters swim on the day we had to wait for a couple days before it would warm up enough to make it possible. I mentioned before the last time i did it was in Canada with my good friend Mary. Well it was -27c that time and this time is was only -15c but well it felt a hell of a lot colder believe me. Below was a series of pics Aaron had taken and I put them together into a little video for your enjoyment. Try not to laugh too much at the face I pull.

video

 So yesterday in Australia was our National elections and we like everyone else had to do our civic duty and vote. This will definitely be one that i'll never forget as the voting booth was not a both but a tent, temperature was fridget and i'm actually talking about the temperature as it was -33c. I quickly made my choices and quickly got out of there as my hands were getting too cold. But we did our civic duty and had a BBQ to boot.

Pic: Ladge
As you can see in the above pic its been a little gloomy lately but the sun still hasn't turned up. We are about a week away from seeing the sun and to be honest I haven't really noticed it missing. We still get some light but the sun isn't getting above the horizon. I guess its the shift work I did in the bakeries but getting up and going to work in the dark is/was normal what isnt it the Auroras we get on the way to work. Its been an experience i'll remember the the rest of my life. 

Anyway this week coming ill be heading up to a place called Whoop Whoop which is where the skiway is located. Up there we will have to pick up 3 machines to bring back to station to service them. We have had to wait till now as the sea ice hasn't been thick enough to handle the weight. Now that it is and having had several blizzards we are going to have to spend a fair bit of time digging them out and debizzing them before we can start them. So expect that in the next blog.

Until then hope you enjoyed your catch up

Take care

Michael

P.S...........A year from now you will wish you had started today.
                Karen Lamb