Monday, 22 December 2008

AGAP-North The last outpost of AAD and BAS

Having spent a rather comfortable time at South Pole acclimatising in Ack camp the AGAP-North camp was less luxurious with only one heated tent the kitchen / dinning tent. The flight across for the personnel and the cargo involved the use of the German Basler from AWI flown by Canadian pilots from Enterprise in Canada. FBL the BAS survey Twin Otter followed a day later with the seasons first survey over Dome A for the AGAP survey teams.
AGAP-North Camp

AGAP-North camp which was setup by the Austrialians with the support from one of BAS's GA's, FAZ BAS's utility Twin Otter and AWI's Basler. The camp consists of a cook/dinning tent, a small weatherhaven acting as a science tent, toilet tent and a collection of Scott and Dome tents acting as sleeping quaters. From the camp there is nothing to see but snow to the horizon and the pallets of airdropped fuel which was delivered prior to the building of the camp.
FBL our Survey Aircraft and FAZ our Logistics Aircraft

With the full BAS survey team at AGAP-North survey flying can start in earnest, with the aim to use up all 4 airdrops worth of fuel before we depart back North. The daily survey flying routine is a long one, it starts just before breakfast when the survey rack heaters are turned on to warm up the equipment to an operable temperature. Once the racks are up to temperature a gravity still reading is done and the rest of the survey equipment is powered up and tested. The first crew (pilot and the operator) either flying 2 shorter flights or a longer flight and once they have returned to camp the aircraft is refueled either for the second short flight or for the second crew to go on a longer survey flight. Once all the flights have been completed for the day the data is checked and archived this can be a somewhat long and tedious task but does guarantee that any little problems in equipment can be spotted and rectified before the next days survey flying.

As we are surveying over the Dome A/AGAP region the scenery is some what barren though occasionally we do get to se some more interesting ice and snow features.
Antarctic Landscape Near Dome A

Life at camp is OK with our camp staff cooking up some good food and the tents for sleeping in though cold initially but soon become more comfortable once you have snuggled deep inside the specially made sleeping bags that were made for this season.


Mike said...

Great to hear all is well. Hope you have time to celebrate Christmas. Happy Christmas Carl and the rest of the team.

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