Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Traverse Day 8-9 Update

Traverse Day 8-9 update

Day 9 Progress:
Day 9 - 2 December 2013, 2300UT
Position reached: E 127° 56.663 S 70° 49.591'
Elevation: 2836 m
Distance covered so far: 751 km
Distance remaining: 601 km
Temperature (evening): -27 °C

Yesterday was a long and busy day, and despite a good day for the raid we were saddened by the news of the helicopter accident on the Amery. Our thoughts are with all
those involved. Consequently today I'll give a combined 2 day update ...

This is another iPad under-way attempt, I must say battling at the limits of dexterity as we bounce along at 8-9 km/h. Blame the sastrugi and autocorrect for any

We covered 87km yesterday and 84km today, which is excellent progress now we are off-roading. Yesterday we parked the caravan around our usual time of 2030 under
ideal conditions: scarcely a breath of wind, and clear sunny skies making the -24°C air temperature seem mild. It was a case of doors flying open as vehicles came to
a stop and everyone scattering to make the most of the weather. Manu doing another radar transect, Olivier doing snow pit work, while I got our Kovacs shallow ice
corer out to do some testing in preparation for some genuine coring in the near future. This frenzy of pre-dinner science activity was aided by the rest of the group
who picked up our common end-of-day tasks. While on the topic of science, a clarification regarding Manu's snow radar during traverse. I think I said it covers the
upper several tens of metres; in fact it extends to about 150 m, somewhat deeper than I thought.

The clear still weather brought a cold night. I'm noticing a distinct difference between temperatures of -30° and below, and the more congenial -10° to -20°
temperatures we encounter in previous work near the coast and at Law Dome. Each day little tasks requiring dexterity, Iike tying up radiator covers on the tractors,
are compounded by clumsy gloved hands or very cold fingers. I expect we will really be challenged at the ABN camp when it comes time to put up the 7 or so large tents
and 20+ polar pyramid tents. I'm putting in an order for more windless weather!

The surface today was rougher than yesterday and Sharon pointed out the difficulty in operating the kassi when some sastrugi scrape off smoothly at a reasonable
speed, and others bring the vehicle to a shuddering stop.

Now that I've had confirmed the fact that I can blog pictures, I'll throw in the occasional bit of eye candy if future posts, although I dare not clog the satellite
link, so they'll be sparing and low quality.