Thursday and Friday were more days of broken planes and weather cancellations. Thursday we went out to the airfield about 4pm, and we were quickly informed that the flight crew had broken a door on the plane we were supposed fly on. We had to wait at the airfield for another hour because there was possibility we were going on a different plane. Then we were told the flight was cancelled due to weather. Friday was much of the same except we got weather cancelled before we had to go all the way to the airfield, which is much nicer! It’s a lot of effort to put on all of our cold weather gear, pack up our bags, and travel in the shuttle buses 30 minutes each way to get to the airfield.
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday there were no flights even scheduled to WAIS. Lee and I decided it would be good to try and at least get one site done out of McMurdo, so reserved a truck on Saturday and drove out the our AWS at Pegasus airfield; Pegasus North AWS. I takes a little over an hour to drive there, and it probably took about 20 minutes to find the AWS since things always seems to change in that area. Unfortunately, we had to park the truck about 150 feet away from the site since the folks at Pegasus didn’t trust the stability of the ice between the truck and the site. We had planned to install a box of 3 new batteries (~225 lbs), but it was too heavy to carry that far. Instead we just added 1 new battery to the 2 old batteries already at the site.
As you can see, Pegasus North is very tilted. This is because it’s in an area of ice that often melts and then refreezes, and the tower isn’t very deep in the ice. We might have to go back later in the season, with the riggers, to see if we can make it straight.
Pegasus North has two wooden boxes of old batteries that have been disconnected for years, but every time we go there they are too iced in to remove. Lee was able to wrench one of them out of the ice. We were never going to be able carry the box to the truck (you can see the truck in the picture), so Lee used one of the ice picks to pull it across the ice. It actually worked quite well! We had finally completed our first day of field work after 10 days in Antarctica.
We are scheduled for a flight to WAIS tomorrow……….
Enjoy a video of how I killed some time in McMurdo 🙂