Halos and Blows

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  Trip Ctd.
Summer 07
Winter 07


It's been all weather, all the time. One field trip managed to get away from the base, spend a good day yomping about in the snow, then a couple more stuck in tents by the wind, then came back. Still, happy for having been not here for a short while. Their final day was glorious for us at the base, blue skies pierced by glinting dashes of diamond dust with a halo hanging over the sparkling air. One of those breathtaking days that I came down here to enjoy.

The third trip had less luck, the start of their week was filled with the most wind we've had yet, with all handlines deployed for the inevitable walks out to buildings when equipment breaks. The blow only lasted for a day or two and, by dumping a fresh load of snow, completed the wonderful job of levelling off the entire snow surface. Skiing is smooth again, and kiting quite the thing. Anyway, the third trip of people wanted to be off, but were still stuck at the base as we had become shrouded in a uniform covering of cloud. This makes travelling dangerous as although you can see a long way, nothing casts a shadow so any cracks or bumps in the ice disappear into a puffy white nothingness. In the meantime they amused themselves by building an igloo. Eventually things improved a little and they were able to head off to one of our cabooses, a sort of caravan on skis, where they had a couple of good nights of not doing very much.

Back on the base we made good of the better weather and have been out looking after the masts spread about the base. We probably won't have to climb them in the winter but we do need to make sure they don't fall over. Each mast is held up by a series of stays, long wires that stretch out to the sides and stop it leaning one way or the other. The anchors at the bottom of the stays slowly sink into the snow, which ramps up the tensions in the cables. If we didn't extend the wires from time to time eventually the forces could pull the mast over.

Vicki clears snow from a skidoo beneath a halo
Vicki clears snow from a skidoo beneath a halo

I reflect in the Piggott door
I reflect in the Piggott door

Andy, Dave and Vicki build an igloo
Andy, Dave and Vicki build an igloo

Andy, Dave and Vicki inside
Andy, Dave and Vicki inside

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