Saturday, 10 January 2009

AGAP-North Final Days

As both AGAP-South and AGAP-North camps are up and running there have been a few visits from the USAP survey Twin Otter. With the the first USAP flight from AGAP-South to AGAP-North occuring a few days after New Year, this flight fell on our rest day and provided some welcome distraction to the routine that had set in.
USAP Twin Otter Visiting AGAP-North

As the season progresses FBL the BAS survey aircraft has been flying 2 to 3 flights a day to get coverage of the Eagle and AGAP-North grids. With most of the fuel almost used the attention will turn to the AGAP South grid which has a continuous supply of fuel flown in by USAP Hercs (C130s). With all the fuel drums now collected efforts have turned to clearing up the camp in preparation for the removal of the camp at AGAP-North. On the 10th January, after FBL departs the Australians and our GA will dismantle the camp so all that is left is the crushed fuel drums, parachutes and packing materials. And after the Chinese traverse passes through on the way back to the coast the camp will return to just a GPS coordinate on a large expanse of snow and ice on the East Antarctica Plateau.
AGAP-North Team

Some stats to date for AGAP-North
AGAP-North Flights 49 (with another 2 inc. transfer flight to do before AGAP-North closes)
Other flights 5 (3 out of Pole + McMurdo transfer + Pole transfer)
Nautical Miles covered to date 20 000+ (from depature of McMurdo)
Some 5+ Terra bytes of data collected todate

Friday, 2 January 2009

Chinese Takeway

The weather has been constantly cold at about -27 degrees C but with no or very little wind so it hasn't been too bad, but now with the wind picking up and the temperatures again heading below -30 degrees and also with the wind chill has made exposed skin painful so careful wrapping up is required.
FBL Shadow Over Dome A
Arial of AGAP-North

As the survey is progressing it is becomming more and more routine,so it was nice that the Chinese traverse rolled into camp on New Years Eve. The Chinese will be providing the logistics to help remove our camp from AGAP-N when they return North from Dome A. We first saw their traverse from the air the day before as we were returning from the days final survey. With all the building materials for their base at Dome A the landtrain was quite sizeable and contained 10+ vehicles with a further number slight further back been repaired.

After the Chinese were given the tour of our camp and FBL they took us across to their land train for the tour of vehicles and sledges. The accommodation was better than some Antarctic bases and the vehicles all looked in good condition. Tonight dinner is Chinese as we both swapped food items though maybe we did get the better deal on the food front though we are unsure about 1000 year old eggs! They were around for a few hours long enough for a group photo as they were keen to get up to Dome A and start building their base, but will return to take away the spent fuel drums.
Land Train Viewed From AGAP-North Camp
Arial of land train

Chinese/Australian/BAS Group Photo AGAP-N

New Year passed and was noted but the work and survey work continued relentlessly, since arriving we have flown survey continuously, and with the weather fax the pilots have been able to plan flights that allowed us to survey even though the weather forecasts were dubious.