An Adelie Calls

Main Page
Getting Going
Saying Goodbye
Sailing South
  Off Base
Summer 07
Winter 07

This has been a week of getting on with it, with a bit of hide and seek mixed in half way through. Getting on with the work, first jacking up the platform we live on so that it doesn't disappear beneath the snow. This takes almost everyone on the station spending the whole day sat in little baskets on each of the twenty legs of the Laws building. As I can't climb ladders I was left in charge of the world class science all by myself and came back from work with another 1.7 meters of staircase to climb at the end of the day.

We devote huge amounts of effort dealing with the way the entire base slowly sinks beneath the snow surface (well, as the snow slowly climbs up the base). Every mast on the base must also be raised and this week saw the largest set, the AIS transmit antenna, gaining another section. Two lucky people got to climb 45m into the blue skies. We think, but aren't entirely sure, that these are the highest man made structures on the whole continent.

Our visiting penguin has decided to station itself at the base of the Piggot and has slowly moulted away its winter feathers, leaving quite a mess at the bottom of our steps. Each morning it sits quietly waiting for us to turn up, flaps its wings a bit as we squeeze past, then looks ever so disappointed that it can't negotiate the steel steps and follow us up onto the platform. As it's nearly done shedding its soft feathers for sleek summer dress, we expect it will disappear shortly and silently find its way back to the sea.

Our final bit of amusement was provided by an incoming airplane. As they approached the base a mist rolled in from the sea and made it impossible to work out where the sky stopped and the ice started. Luckily a clear patch opened up a few kms from the base so the plane landed there before being enveloped itself (everywhere is an airport here). As they had a GPS we were able to send a Sno-Cat out to find them and bring them back for a rest before going out the next day to hop the plane quickly over to the official ski-way.

The leg is much better. Although I'm onto cast number six I can now walk about inside and out without crutches so long as the snow isn't too soft. I'm going on nightshift for the next week, essentially a fire and alarm watch to make sure that if anything bad happens we know about it as soon as possible. Although I'll have one or two little jobs to get on with (including the bread making, which I dread a tiny bit), it will mostly be a marathon of movies and books, a chance to relax before plunging into the final couple of weeks of summer. The sun is starting to drift towards the horizon now so evenings begin to dress the snow in different hues as the sky's blues spread into purples and firey reds. Passing the time while I'm the only person awake for a thousand miles will be eased by the ever changing environment outside the windows.

Laws legs ready for jacking
Laws legs ready for jacking

Adelie moulting in the lee of the Piggott
Adelie moulting in the lee of the Piggott

Jacko and Jules raise the AIS tx mast
Jacko and Jules raise the AIS tx mast

prev: Miragesnext: Nights
Read the whole of this journal on a Kindle, iPad or PC. Ebook from or (DRM Free). Includes over 200 high quality photographs.
 ^Back to Top^ | © Alex Gough 2006-02-07 | RSS 0.91 | RSS 2.0 which Alex breaks his leg, then gets better.