Monday, October 13, 2008

Looking for a Home

(from Paul)

We were out on the sea ice on our snowmobiles today for about 5 hrs. It was -12 degree C, and at times there was a bit of a wind, but we were relatively warm. Hot chocolate has never tasted so good (6 bags to a thermos).

I have not yet found a research site out on the sea ice. This hunt may take a bit longer than usual.We will see.

The area of flat ice that I thought would be good turned out to be old ice and we could not get through it with two drill flights . (We need ~6 ft. of ice or less to be able to drill diving holes for our penguins.) It was still dry ice, and that area is under about 2.5 ft of snow. I was hoping we could find an area without so much snow, since any area with that much accumulated snow means we will get buried in snow if a storm hits. (In the Antarctic, the question of storms is not “if,” but “when.”) The ice is just too thick there.

Last year's site had big pressure ridges near it, and the entire area is fused plates of old ice. The ice there is not too thick, but it was real slushy at 2 flights. We could not break through. That’s unfortunate since the area had less than 6 inches of snow.

We will continue to look for an area free of cracks in that general region I think. And, of course, we still have to get the route  okayed for Fleet Ops to drag the huts into the site. So, it will be what it will be.

Otherwise, not much new. I think I will take some vitamin I (i.e., ibuprofen) with dinner.