With the anticipated arrival of the Twin Otter next week the team have started to unpack the boxes and test various field equipment and science equipment that will be installed onto the aircraft. The aircraft cabin heater system that we had developed in house at BAS performed well during initial testing on the sea ice at William Field, though some initial repair work had to be carried out to remedy the damage sustained in transportation. Also we set up a weather fax that will allow our pilots to make calls on the survey lines that can be flown that day to avoid areas of bad weather thus maximising our ability to go survey flying.
Sunday a rest day at the base in McMurdo allowed us time to do one of the trails that have been created around McMurdo. The one we chose to do was the Castle Rock loop trail which sets off from McMurdo and heads up towards Arrival Heights before heading off across the glacier towards Castle Rock. The walking was not too strenuous but been able to see miles out in front through such clear air makes things appear closer than they are so you get the impression that it is taking longer than it should to walk the distance. So after about an hour and half trudging across the glacier we reached the base of Castle Rock, unfortunately the rock is closed for climbing so we were unable to climb to the top to admire the view. The views from the ridge were quite spectacular looking down onto the frozen Ross sea, though it was a bit overcast so Mount Erebus was obscured from view, I guess we will hopefully make it back round the loop on a clear day and see Erebus as it is meant to be the best location to view it from. We continued down the glacier towards the ice shelf with the clouds chasing us, from there it was a long hike along the ice road toward the base. All in all it was a good walk taking about 3 hours 40 minutes.