— Katie Joy | 03 Jan 2019
We are sitting in the tent and doing a bit of waiting.
Yesterday our second plane load of equipment arrived from Rothera with one of the skidoos that we will need for our field work plans and some extra fuel. Getting the skidoo off the Twin Otter plane is more of an art than science with a lot of wiggling and grunt force to get it pivoted into position. Somewhat of a case of Chuckle Brothers style “to you — to me” whilst it gets lined up with the rampway to get it off the plane. The plane took off into sunny skies and afterwards we did a bit of ski-way chipping and shovelling to try and flatten out some sastrugi (wind shaped compacted snow mounds) that were causing some bumps during landing and takeoff. We sorted out the camp and as the meteorite collection kit and associated science equipment had arrived I got things organised and ready to go. We got the word later in the afternoon that the weather around Halley had closed in with snow, and so the third and final kit transport flight would be stood down.
After an evening meal of sausages, peas and smash, we had a peaceful night, but awoke this morning to poorer skies with some light snow and low cloud. The air temperature outside is about -9°C so not too bad, and the winds are relatively light. The Met Office team in Rothera and the Comms team in Halley are relaying lots of information back and forth to give us a forecast and planning for the rest of the day. Julie is sending over local weather reports to provide an idea of visibility, wind speed and direction, and contrast conditions. There are clearer skies to the north and the clouds are expected to lift later this afternoon, so hopefully there is a chance we could get out for a bit and/or the plane might be able to get in.
Sitting in the tent is warm — but the colours are very strange. The tent is orange so everything inside has an off orange-yellow light that drowns out all other colours. Even my blue jumper looks an odd shade of browny orange. We have the tent set up so that there is the primus stove in the middle for cooking, along with some boxes of living equipment like plates and fuel. By the door is our food box (we have more outside and just bring in what we need for a few days/meals). We sleep either side of the stove area in thick down sleeping bags on top of a thick sheepskin blanket, a blow up thermarest, a foam thermarest and a wooden board. At the top of the tent, where it gets warm from the stove, is where we hang our clothes to dry out. There are storage pockets around the inside of the tent for keeping loose bits of kit (sunglasses, sun cream, books etc.).
Now to do a bit more waiting and seeing what happens with the weather.
Geoff and Mike, who are on their way to test out our metal detection equipment are now in Chile at the Punta Arenas gateway — so should be heading out to Rothera later this week to start their preparations for getting out into the field.