It’s that time of year, when the AWS team tries to go to WAIS. Marian and I have been waiting for this moment. For the past couple weeks, while we have been on the helo and Otter schedule here in McMurdo, we have also been planning and packing for our trip to WAIS.
Last night (21 Dec) Marian and I “bag dragged,” or brought all of our checked bags and hand-carry bags, up to the transport building to get everything weighed for our LC-130 flight to WAIS. This means we will not have access to any bags that we checked until we go to WAIS. It is therefore very important that one packs efficiently and intelligently, so that one’s hand-carry items can provide comfort for as many days as it takes to actually leave for WAIS.
We were hoping that we would be the primary mission today and be able to fly to WAIS. But last night we found out we were the backup mission to an LC-130 flight to the South Pole. This morning, we’ve since found out that all flights are on a 2-hour weather delay. Begin “hurry up and wait.”
One benefit of this slight delay is that I can send this update to you all! Our goal for WAIS is to service 7 AWS by Twin Otter and one AWS in close proximity to WAIS. If all goes as planned, we will have a dedicated Twin Otter, meaning we will be the only group using it, for about the first week we are at camp. That will hopefully allow us to get a good amount of work done. Another science group, POLENET, will be arriving shortly after the new year, and we will be sharing the Otter with them.
WAIS camp will be a little smaller this year than in years past, in terms of population. Our group and POLENET will be the only science groups using WAIS. I think the population will get to about 20 people at its maximum, but in the past I think it’s been at least double that at times.
Marian and I are excited to get to WAIS so we can start flying to more sites! If we do go today, I won’t be able to send any updates until we get back. However, you can be on the lookout for posts coming from Matthew Lazzara (PI of the AWS program), as he and Andy Kurth are due to arrive in McMurdo on 9 Jan! Stay tuned.
P.S. Here’s a picture of a seal and then a picture of a skua eating a fish, as seen on the Pressure Ridges tour.