Saturday, 26 July 2008

Sea Ice Excursions

After a disappointing sea ice year last year, when 'travel' was limited to access to dive holes in Hangar Cove, it was a brilliant experience to finally be able to walk on water around Rothera Point this week. We were out testing the thickness of the ice which remained between 20 and 40cm.
Massive icebergs get trapped as the ice forms

Ferg & Jason admiring the awesome views

A huuuuuge berg with Jenny Island in the background
Heading towards South Cove

Me using a different mode of transport in the same spot 2 weeks ago

Rather disappointingly the last few days has brought windy and warm weather (temperatures up to +1 and sleet yesterday!). This has caused leads (patches of open water) to open up in the ice and means we will have to wait for a lot of it to reform before we can go out on it again.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Flag Ceremony

The flag on Rothera Point is traditionally replaced on the day of the sun returning to base. The ceremony was perfectly timed with the sun peeking over Stokes peaks just as we started.

Ali, our base commander, welcoming the sun
John (the eldest on base) lowers the old flag
Matt (the youngest) raises the new flag

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Frozen Sea

Panoramic view of the sea ice around Rothera, taken from Reptile Ridge

Finally, after weeks of 'warm' (up to +3 degrees C) and windy weather it's starting to get a little more wintery. With the calm weather and temperatures dropping to -17 the sea ice has started to form. This week the ice in the local area was finally thick enough to allow travel so Birgit and I headed out to cut some holes and deploy some traps in a bid to collect some marine life for us to study.

Matt making light work of chainsawing through the 40cm thick ice in Hangar Cove

GAs & willing volunteers heading out to test the thickness of the sea ice further off base

Freeing the ice blocks
Hauling the ice blocks from the holes

After 5 days of clearig the holes of new ice and checking traps daily our catch totals a rather disappointing single Parbolasia worm.

A delightful Parbolasia. They're around 50cm long and very slimy! They are scavengers and will eat anything, apparently one was once caught in Hangar Cove which had ingested an empty Spam tin!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Sunshine straight from the fridge!

North end of Stork Ridge. The route is to the right of centre

Dan (GA) and I headed out to climb a route on Stork North today. Climbing routes often get bizarre names which are highly meaningful to those who named them but usually leave others a bit bewildered - as in this case where the route is named 'straight from the fridge', sadly I have no idea why. It was a mixed route - meaning partly snow / ice and partly rock. Rock climbing whilst wearing large boots, crampons & gloves and weilding ice axes is "interesting".

Me leading up the easy bit!

On reaching the top we were rewarded with a very special sight - our first view of the sun since it disappeared behind the horizon nearly 2 months ago.