Thursday, December 26, 2013

ABN December 25

Today brought some more developments at ABN. A Basler flight brought in our last three science crew and our changeover mechanic, who was scheduled in January, but will have the opportunity to get a handover of the setup from the current mechanic. The notable thing about this was that Bloo, the new mechanic, arrived in Santa costume, which combined with his impressive beard and jolly deameanour had a very authentic effect - at least if you ignore the fact that the costume was probably a couple of sizes too small and back-to-front!

Work continued with some success. The firn-air team and the main coring team have now each drilled to a little over 50 metres. The progress of the firn air coring was stymied for a while by ongoing trouble with tension in the spring "skates" that prevent it from spinning in the hole rather than drilling. For a while around the middle of the day we were stuck around 35m depth, where the skates had slipped in the hole, over-enlarging it and threatening any ability to progress. With some good advice and head scratching these difficulties seem to have been solved, and we hope to pick up the pace tomorrow.

The newcomers from yesterday have thrown themselves into their work - one team putting up the final large tent which will house core processing, and others organising the kitchen and living area to cope with the large population: now 19!

I've included a picture that shows the camp this evening - it is rather windy and snow is drifing through the area providing an atmospheric effect. It isn't as cold as it has been (only -23C) but the wind makes it rather uncomfortable.

As I said yesterday, our Christmas will be tomorrow, a shortened work day and a special dinner at the end. I think the best present for us all will be a day of good progress.