Dec 3 – Thursday
Mark and I had our first station visit out of WAIS today, Thursday 3 December, going to Byrd AWS to raise the station.
We hadn’t planned on going to Byrd. In our first scheduling meeting with the Twin Otter pilots, we told them we wanted to aim to go to four AWS for our first two flights: Thurston Island and Evans Knoll for one flight, and Erin and Brianna for another flight. The other science group, John and Joel the geologists, are also hoping to use the Otter to put in their camp at Parrit Hills. Today, the weather was poor at all of the listed locations, so we thought there wasn’t going to be any flying.
Mark had the great idea to ask if the Otter pilots, Troy and John, if we could try going to Byrd AWS. It is located near WAIS (only about a 40 minute flight away), and it’s collocated with Byrd Camp, where 4 people are currently staying, trying to dig out the camp. They would be able to provide ground weather observations for us, ensuring it would be safe to fly.
Lo and behold, the weather was excellent at Byrd, and we got the go ahead to fly there! We started getting our equipment ready, and some WAIS camp staff gathered up some boxes of supplies to send to the Byrd Camp staff, including mail.
We departed WAIS around 9:30 am and got to Byrd camp around 10 am so we could first drop off the extra supplies. The Byrdies (I’ve decided to call them that… I haven’t heard anyone else refer to them as such) were really excited to see us, and even more excited to get their presents. I recognized them from when we were in McMurdo, as they were waiting for their chance to get to Byrd Camp.
Once we all exchanged pleasantries and said bye to the Byrdies, we taxied in the Otter over to Byrd AWS. It is within eyeshot of Byrd Camp.
The station raise went very smoothly. There were hardly any hiccups. Troy and John were very kind to help us with digging, handing up instruments and/or tools, and making the work proceed efficiently. The station now stands pretty tall and won’t be getting buried any time soon!
We had a very good first experience with doing AWS work out of WAIS, and we’re only on our second full day here. Hopefully there are more days like this to come during our (planned) short stay at WAIS!
For the cargo update, on the night of December 2 we got our case of the rest of our equipment, including radios and harnesses. Now all we’re waiting on are the extra power systems and tower sections for the station installs and replacements. Those might be coming tonight!