Dec 1 – Tuesday
We arrived at WAIS today! Just in the nick of time, as we had set this day as our cut-off date to get out to WAIS. If we didn’t make it today, we figured it wouldn’t be worth our time to leave McMurdo to come to WAIS, given our off-ice departure date is 14 December. There was still plenty of work that we could have done in McMurdo, but now that we were able to get to WAIS, hopefully weather will cooperate and we can knock off some station visits here!
Mark and I left McMurdo at 8:15 am, boarding an LC-130, WAIS-bound. Overall, it was a pretty uneventful flight and we reached WAIS at 11:50 am. It was a little windy when we got off the plane but not too windy, and temperatures were around -4F. There were 5 passengers total on this flight: myself, Mark, Paul (mountaineer), and John and Joel from another science project. The rest of the flight weight was taken up by cargo. I think there was approximately 12,000 pounds of cargo allowed in the plane, so you can get an idea of how much cargo was on the plane! This included 2 snowmobiles for John and Joel.
We got off the plane, took our hand-carry bags and first went to the galley where we were told to meet. We were greeted by people who were anxious to get on the plane back to McMurdo. They had been waiting at WAIS for this flight for almost a week, and I could tell that they were ready to go. I’m glad they were finally able to get out!
Eventually we got our in-brief and got acquainted with the camp. The camp is essentially organized in lines. If looking at the camp from a bird’s eye view, the lines are oriented vertically. The furthest left line is made up of work tents; this includes the galley and wash module, the medical tent, two science tents, the mechanical tent, the Twin Otter and fuel station and a couple others. All of the work tents are heated. At the bottom of this line is “tent city,” where each WAIS resident has their own tent to sleep in. The next line to the right is the line of outhouses, to go to the bathroom. The remaining 4 lines to the right are cargo lines.
Mark and I are in one of the two science tents, and we have it to ourselves for the time that we will be at WAIS. There is plenty of space in the tent to allow for a few tables, used as desks for Mark and I and as a work bench, and even enough space for cots. Beth, the camp manager, offered that Mark and I could sleep in our work tent instead of setting up a tent. We decided to take her up on the offer. I know we’re not getting the “full” field camp experience, but since we only plan to be here for a little over week, we thought we might as well sleep in a heated tent on cots. Honestly, it’s quite luxurious.
We’re getting things set up already, and even though we don’t have all of our cargo here (it’s a long story), we do have enough to do work on a couple AWS right now. We plan to leave WAIS between December 8 and 10, so hopefully our cargo can come soon so we can do as much work as possible while we’re here!
Well that’s all for now. I’ll be writing more updates as they come.