Friday, 26 December 2008

Christmas at AGAP-North

In Antarctic particularly when carrying out survey work Christmas is just another work day like all the others as when the weather is fine it is better to crack on and get the work done. Saying that Christmas is remembered as best we can with the opening of a few presents brought from home and a little more special food for dinner.

VP-FBL our Survey Twin Otter at AGAP-N

Having been at a AGAP-North a week we have carried out 16 survey flights which covers some 30+ survey line. The survey is split in to a grid that contains survey lines and a smaller number of tie lines, once flown this systematic grid gives a good coverage over the survey area allowing the scientists to say what lies beneath the 2 to 4 km of ice that covers the surface of the Dome A area. Work is continuous with the hours spent survey flying, checking data, archiving data and repairing equipment that has failed (Antarctic is very harsh on electrical equipment so a fair amount of time is spent monitoring and test equipment to keep it in full working order). As seen in the above photograph the international participation in this survey is immense with the Australians providing the logistical support for our camp here at AGAP-North, the Americans delivering the fuel by the way of airdrops, the Chinese will retrograde the camp at the season close by way of their land train from Dome A, the Germans provided logistical, financial and project management and the British contingent from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) provided the survey expertise, a survey Twin Otter and a logistical Twin Otter.

As time progresses here at AGAP-North thing are becoming more established as the finer points of camp life can be concentrated on to make the cold temperatures (daily average of -25 degrees C without wind chill, but as we have a nice constant breeze of 12 knots we end up with an effective temperature of about -36 degrees C). Occasionally you have the luxury of a bucket bath, having not washed for weeks it is quite pleasant to feel clean and refreshed again. Work progresses in earnest so BAS at AGAP-North going clear as we are about to depart on another survey flight.

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