Wednesday, December 8, 2010

14 Met, Wilkins Garage, Mcdoogals and why they call it home of the blizzard...

Hello again,

I know it was only Sunday you got my last update but so much is going on i needed to do a mid week blog just to keep you up to date. Talking of Sunday and one thing that didn't make it into my previous blog was I was part of a crew that picked up a couple of scientists, FTO (minder also known as a Field Training Officer) and a camp support officer also know as Matt. The camp was in located 8km from A16. The A16 denotes the marker on the route to Wilkins Aerodrome (70km) so camp was about 50-60km from station.

Having not been up to Wilkins yet this season and not as high as where the camp was located i jumped at the opportunity to head up there. Two Haggs departed Sunday morning 8am for what we were told was going to be a long day. Magic day it was too, not a cloud in the sky and cool at around -10c. Funny as their field camp had been pulled due to oncoming bad weather.

This shot not the best i know, i took it heading up the plateau through the windscreen and it doesn't capture the shine off the ice as good as i saw it.............

Once leaving the A line and headed cross country, i was expecting it to be rough with big sastrugi but in actually wasn't too bad at all. 8km we had to go then there it was not the middle of well Antarctica.

Most important thing in the camp behind the sleeping accommodation is the kitchen. Well the back of a sled will do for a table and the Generator (Those Honda's work incredibly good and to think i had to talk Dad into buying one cheep, crazy) well the gen would power all the communication gear as well as the boffins computers ect but more importantly a kettle and toaster!!


The dinning table at home doesn't have a view like this one! Matty showing off the prize possession of the camp other than the kettle and toaster was the garden chair with the polar pyramid line in the background.


Matt was telling me about the ice cream melting believe it or not. So they dug a hole and berried the food.





They had a little bit of blowing snow a couple nights and this was the results.........


The designs in the snow were quite impressive.


The snow brick wall that was used as a wind brake in the kitchen.


More cool designs in the snow and a good pic of sastrugi.


I do think they were happy to get back on station though.


I was going to talk about the SAR exercises this week but unfortunately the weather has been bad here. Tuesday we had, as you soon will see, winds gusting to 80 knots, near enough to 150kph at its peek and LOTS of blowing snow. Good for me in a way as its going to give the plant operators something to do for a while. So in short there isn't going to be any SAR exercises tomorrow but. On the up side this is good as i have been chosen to be a summer SAR team member along with my good friend Rowdy AKA Cliff we will instead be doing some medical training tomorrow. Again good as its still going to be blowing at 50-70 knots tomorrow.

All this weather is very accurately predicted by our trusty Met (Meteorology) team and as weather is very important in everything we do here as it either allows us to work or not as it isnt at the moment. So without further ado here is my tour of the Met orifice.....


Now in that video you remember Tod preparing the "Sonde" well this it the device that is attached to the balloon and transmits all sorts of data back about the temp, humidity, height and wind speed. 


I would have loved to take some pictures inside that building but the Met guys get a little antcy about electrical devices in there as in that building they produce hydrogen to blow up the balloons up and therefor if you go in you also have to wear special clothing as well.

After the balloon release if you could call it that was done both me and Tod raced back inside to look at the computer screen at the incoming data. Balloons are released all around the world at the same time. The data is then collated by the Bureau of Met and sifted through by brains.

The computer screen below is the incoming data and top left is temperature, bottom left is wind speed, top right is humidity and bottom right is wind direction. This is calculated through an inbuilt GPS in the sonde and the base station that it is linked to thus calculating where and how quickly it is getting there.


Screen shot of weather station only a couple things of interest here top row of big numbers from left to right are...........wind direction, wind speed, gusting to. Second line is the averages over 10 min and the third line is pressure.

More on weather here in the next video you'll see the Wilkins Garage that i covered a couple weeks ago and whats happened to it.


Mind you that video was shot before we had the really strong wind and the sled even though it was chained to the D7 and the Excavator at the other end DID move.

Some pictures of inside took one today to give you an idea of how much blowing snow there is and this is inside a garage. yesterday.....



This was today look at the snow on the horse!!



A snowy power point................hummmm




Easiest way to clean the snow out.............a slightly bigger shovel


While we were in the Garage deciding on what/how to clean it up we saw this..............dont know what is funnier Edd ( the Irishman) or Gary falling over, what do you think? (NOTE: dose have a little course language in it)

There is something about these sort of day that brings out the kid in me.............i love them, there is very interesting things happen to doors and snow/ice build up on the buildings.




 Here is young Ed explaining why he is a bad boy!!


Blizzards do strange things to people don't they!

On the weekend we had a visit from Ronald Mcdoogal...........the unknown ugly twin of his more known and famous brother. Don't ask me how he got here as the Airbus isn't flying yet and the ship hasn't been, i guess he must have got a lift as Santa was taking his new slay for a cruise..............

Think he must have picked up a few pointers from Santa as Narelle our fearless Station Leader was made to sit on his lap!

                                                                        Pic: Amy Bulters

                                                                        Pic: Amy Bulters

Its been another full week only slowed by the little but of wind stopping us from doing much outside. Moving around in conditions like this is interesting and sometimes quite difficult. Dangerous only if your stupid. I was told but someone that you only have to worry if the knots are more than your weight, so its safe to say i haven't been close to being scared yet.

Resupply is running late due to issues in Hobart which after a while things not running on time are quite normal, but the short of it is i believe we are going to be doing our resupply over Christmas again. That being said without the family its is just another day here and although really here we are one family I'm sure Christmas will just be postponed to another day.

I am quite surprised still by the amount of hits on my little part of the Internet. Makes me wonder what you guys make of my adventure as i don't seem to hear BOO from alot of you.

Well i hope everyone is dry on the eastern side of OZ i do hear its a little wet there at the moment. So for a parting word i thought id write it in the snow for you.



P.S...............The only courage you will need is the courage to live the life you are meant to.
                       Oprah Winfrey