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Don Voigt’s Blog from WAIS Divide Camp; 79º 28’S, 112º 05’W


Our weather is odd right now. It was in the 20s today, and really humid and the winds have been opposite from the prevailing direction for several days. But the wind shifted tonight and we are supposed to be back to 20+ knot winds by morning. It is hard in the tents when the weather is so warm. Sounds strange, but we are not equipped for wet. Stay dry and you can stay warm. When snow is melting everything gets wet, boots, pants, gloves. That happens at about 20 degrees. Inside my tent it was 70ºF yesterday morning when the sun was out.

The pilots would like it if the temperature dropped about 10 degrees too. The skiway is very soft and the LC-130s are having a tough time taking off. The flight last night made two passes at taking off then dumped the cargo pallets we had loaded and made it back. Sooner or later though they have to leave with some cargo.

The food has been good. We are still working through our last batch of freshies and had beets and asparagus tonight. We have even had some fresh fruit this season. The C-17s are done flying from Christchurch though so that's the last of that. For the rest of the season “fresh fruit” is when a new can of Mandarin oranges is opened. Our cooks in the field have always been excellent. This year is no exception and our three cooks are great. Three cooks can barely keep up with a camp population around 45, the drillers working shifts, Otters flying whenever they can and everyone working pretty much 7 days a week.

The drill is almost set up. We are working through check lists and procedures, and hope to start working on the first core by the end of the week. My side of the Arch, where the core is processed, measured and packed, is sitting at -25ºC with all four industrial freezers running. It’s a tough place to work and the core handlers finish a shift pretty knackered. The processing side is kept cold to avoid thermal shock to the core and to prevent diffusion of the gasses trapped in the ice.

P.S. The winds picked up again this morning, 20 to 25 knots now. Visibility is down to 1/4 mile at best and we are back into the grinder.

Digging Out WAIS Divide Camp

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