Nov, 2013
























Going South, First Trip page 2

Now, sorry but we have to do this, add the constant sound of mechanical devices generators making power, helocopters flying about, ice breakers grinding open an ice channel in the bay and trucks and fork lifts scurrying all around. This is a very busy place and it's a challenge to get clear of all the sounds and feel the essence of the place. It is possible to find quiet and it's well worth making the effort.

Ice Breaker

In order to do our work out on the ice shield we had to go through survival training at Happy Camp. We built igloos, snow caves and pitched survival tents to spend the night in. Two of us spent the night in a snow cave left from a previous camp and discovered that it had an air flow through it and we froze. We also learned how to use the HF radios and all the survival gear and we were blindfolded and learned how to search for someone lost in a whiteout.

After our happy camp training we got helocopter training where we basically learned to stay put no matter what, until the pilot or the mechanic tells us it's OK to leave the craft. They told us stories about people surviving a crash only to be caught by the still rotating blade as they sprinted away. Flying in a helocopter is pretty cool. It's loud and we have to wear helmets with microphones to talk to each other and the pilot and the mechanic go through a five minute checklist before we lift off for the first time. Once up in the air you can see everything below and we move along slow enough to really get to look around.

On Helocopter

Because the helocopters are in such demand we were scheduled for work after 10 or 11 pm and usually didn't get back in until well after 3 or 4 am. With 24 hours of sunlight it really didn't matter, one just doesn't want to miss breakfast since eating is one of the few things to do when you're not working and you've already watched all the movies in the dorm lounge. As a photographer, working when the sun is lowest in the sky was a real treat. The sky, ice and snow all take on a violet hue and all the shapes and features take on more subtle forms, making for some pretty stunning sights.

Midnight Ross Ice Shield

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