On the Ice

27 Dec: Arrival at WAIS

Marian and I arrived at WAIS today. But not before trying on three separate days, two of which were before the Christmas break. We first tried to fly to WAIS on Friday, 22 Dec, but we were a backup to the primary mission, and the primary mission flew to South Pole. The next day, we were again on the schedule but got canceled due to weather. Since the Christmas holiday break in town was on 24 and 25 Dec, that meant we wouldn’t try to fly to WAIS on those days and would instead spend Christmas in McMurdo. While it would have been nice to get to WAIS sooner, it was still nice to enjoy the Christmas festivities in McMurdo.

For our third failed attempt at flying to WAIS, on Tuesday, 26 Dec, we got onto the Herc and were ready to go, but there turned out to be a gear issue with one of the skies. We taxied for about 20 minutes before we were told to depart the Herc and wait at the airfield until they could unload the cargo from the original plane and load it on another Herc. As it turned out, that was taking too long because they had to de-fuel the injured Herc, which is a slow process. Due to the delay, we were canceled because it would push the schedule for future flights in the week too far back.

Then, today we finally made it to WAIS! As it turns out, this was the original date we had planned to get to WAIS, so we’re actually right on schedule. The weather today is gorgeous, with clear blue skies and low winds.

WAIS field camp, nary a cloud in sight

The field camp is smaller than in years past. Marian and I make 12 people at camp, with the rest being the Twin Otter crew (2 pilots and an engineer) and the camp staff (manager, cook, mechanics, observer, etc). We took the place of two carpenters, who went back to McMurdo on the Herc that dropped us off. Because they left, we were able to occupy their Arctic Oven tent and not have to set up our own. What a deal! Our tents are in a section of camp known as tent city, where everyone sleeps.

Tent city, as viewed from town. Again, nary a cloud….

Dave Mikolajczyk

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