Slight failure in comms…

So it seems we had a slight failure in our communication system, this blog is actually from December 15 but it didn’t get to me then. So here it is now!
Any excitement over the past few days has been completely outdone by the arrival of the fourth member of our party. Captain Oates will be a quiet, yet significant member of our team, assisting us to stay positive and in good humour whilst not consuming too many of our resources. See photo of him keeping an eye on the weather for us, out the tent door.

cheap beer lyrics The last couple of days have been a mixed bag – another day of low cloud and big fat snowflakes saw Graham go almost insane and Bryan retreat to his sleeping bag. In an attempt to ward off cabin fever, Graham and Jo spent the afternoon developing an aerobics routine to Blondie ‘Heart of Glass’ much to Bryan’s dismay. We plan to post the video once we’ve perfected the routine.

parcourir ce site Yesterday we were stoked and relieved to wake to improved weather and finally some SUNSHINE! We’d forgotten what it felt like to have the warmth of the sun on our skin (faces) and to make all the daily tasks seem that much easier. With heaps of snow still lying on the slopes and outcrops and the weather not completely settled we decided to head across the Walcott – our closest destination. Our walk through Dr Seuss-land was made more bizarre and stunning by the additional 3 inches of creamy sparkly snow topping all the features. The fresh snow also made the trip a bit more challenging, as we were unable to determine what sort of ice was hiding underneath. Once we reached the slopes on the northern side of the Walcott it was crampons off and another day of interesting measuring and sampling whilst Jo amused herself with the lightest, fluffiest snow that she had ever seen. By mid-afternoon the clouds had thickened and clusters of stellars were again falling on us. We headed further up the hill but soon found the geologizing difficult with the thick snow layer hiding many interesting features. The descent was somewhat slippery until we reached a ‘road’ conveniently carved back down the hill. Back across the Walcott and through Dr Seuss-land with our tracks barely visible from the new snow that had fallen during the day. Satay for dinner and we weren’t long out of bed. To our surprise and delight the sun burst through the clouds just as we were brushing our teeth and continued to shine through the walls of out tents as we fell asleep.

This morning we were treated to views of the mountains that we had forgotten existed – Dromedary and Huggins against a blue sky. Yay for sunshine and warmth. This beautiful weather was unfortunate timing as we were expecting visitors to our camp this afternoon for the first time so couldn’t get out to work. We’d received a message from MacTown that the Environmental Officer would like to bring some NSF representatives to view our camp set-up. This proposed visit had provided us with a great source of amusement and distraction over the past couple of days, so it was with some disappointment that the helicopter containing our visitors arrived two hours early. Fortunately our camp was already in good order and our visitors were impressed with what we had going on here – a tidy, compact base camp in a beautiful environment. They had a couple of suggestions for us and we provided them with some feedback so the trip was mutually beneficial. In addition to bringing us some baking from MacTown, still warm, our visitors were kind enough to deliver our mail and some other items we required. The afternoon was spent opening our packages and enjoying the delights within. Graham’s feet are now toasty warm with his new down booties and Jo shared her Dark Ghana chocolate with the boys whilst reading copies of the Listener magazine. (Bryan’s family and friends – put something in the post soon, he felt left out!). Thank you to all those who sent us mail, it’s a great joy to receive in the field. A special thank you to Jo’s folks for Captain Oates, the inflatable Emperor penguin, who has already begun an integral part of out team.

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To our dismay the sky clouded over yet again and snowflakes fell from the sky, our sunshine and views once again hidden. This weather cycle is becoming somewhat tedious because even if we can get out onto the slopes, the snow has no chance to melt meaning the time spent is less efficient than desirable. On the plus side, we were delivered a weather monitor today as well, so we can now keep an eye on the wind speed and wind chill. Watching the temperature drop by 60 C with the slightest breeze has increased our understanding of the cold we’ve been experiencing.  Captain Oates is more than content with the cold climate but we are hoping that this weather system will move on and we can get out there and geologise some more.

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