Nearly a month since we left Brize Norton and the work programme is in full swing. We are working to a day which starts late but runs late. This is to ensure that we work during the warmest part of the day which is around 4.0 pm. Thus there is the morning radio sked at 1015, during which we tell of our plans and ensure BAS that we have Carbon Monoxide monitors installed and on (every day!). We dig out the skidoos and leave around 11.00, returning around 1900 or later for a bag of Pack n’ Go, supplemented on special days with Gato Negro wine in a cup. Steadily the drifting snow is accumulating around the tents and we cut steps down to the tent entrance through the main snowdrifts which are now up to 50 m long and up to 2m high.
Life in the pyramid tents is horizontal! Sleeping, dressing in four layers of clothing, putting on boots, having a cup of tea, eating breakfast is all done while lying down. So it is a relief to go to the main tent to sit on a box even if surrounded by a spaghetti mass of wires recharging batteries for the GPS, lap top, laser scanner, cameras etc all mixed up with primuses, sachets of tea bags, cups and powdered milk!
I (David) am impressed with the sleeping system. We sleep on a board on the tent groundsheet! On the board is a Karrimat, a thermo- rest and a sheepskin. Add on a RAB sleeping bag and it is comfortable and warm. The only problem is that the stove in the middle of the tent is slowly melting down and adding a tilt to the sleeping board!
The science progresses well. John has the first radar returns showing 120 m of ice under the blue-ice moraines and the structures in the ice. Stuart had the Laser scanner set up and ready to go in the warmest part of the day. Meanwhile Andy and I have worked out the relationship between local glaciers and the blue-ice moraines and this has helped us select key features to date. We are now on sample number 84.
Last evening we went out to dinner with our neighbours, Chris T, Chris F and Camilla. Smoked salmon and steaks were a real treat! Interestingly they are studying ice at the start of the Holocene 10,000 years ago and we were able to show that you can see the change from cold Ice Age to warm climate as a dark layer in the blue ice.
We have limited connections via Iridium. We lost email contact recently since we got an email with an attachment or photo and it jammed the system, but we are in business again.
Back to the mountain front!