Unfortunately I do not have a lot of new things to report on.
The road to Pegasus (the runway) is really bad right now, so it takes at least two hours to get there. This already eats up four hours in pilot’s workday, making any weather delays an almost certain cancelation. On top of that shuttles are not running as frequently to avoid the overuse of the road. All these factors led to Lee and I getting canceled on a flight to Alexander Tall Tower!. Again.
This is really unfortunate, cause weather here in McMurdo is beautiful – it is sunny and warm (also not helping with getting the road to Pegasus into a better shape). I was really looking forward to flying somewhere and shooting amazing photos 😉
I do have a great picture from my “happy camper” experience to share – my “happy camper” instructor Alasdair moonlights as a photographer. So here’s one of Alasdair’s pictures of me with a white bucket on my head. I am trying to find flags to get to the bathroom:
For those unfamiliar with this exercise – the white buckets on your head simulate the whiteout conditions. It is amazing how easy it is to loose the sense of direction/orientation when you visibility is limited. You can’t really hear anything either and talking to other people is really difficult.
We were simulating a situation where we lost a member of our team. Last we heard he went to the bathroom and we were launching a rescue operation from the iHut to the outhouses. All paths in all field camps are marked with flags – these makes them easier to find in limited visibility conditions. We did not, however, had ropes from flag to flag – something that would have been really useful in a complete whiteout. I managed to find the first flag (thanks to the broom!), but went way of course in search for the second one. My partner Andy actually tried to steer me back – he could feel that I went in the wrong direction, but it was hard to understand his signals via rope and I couldn’t hear him at all. I eventually corrected myself (with a lot of help from Andy), but we ran out of time and got pulled back in by other team members, who were worried that we will get hypothermia (whiteout conditions are associated with high winds and low wind chill temperatures).
You can also see what a gorgeous sunny day it is – no wonder the runway and the road to it are melting. The iHut is located just a few hundred meters off the road to Pegasus – on Ross ice shelf.
Also, I wanted to advertise my personal blog about my non-work adventures in Antarctica. Anyone who is interested is welcome to follow it:
I hope I will soon have more exciting news to report about all the stations Lee and I manage to get to 😉
Thanks for reading,