During the past week the weather finally lifted and we went to work, pulling twelve to fifteen hour days. In four days we serviced, an unheard of, ten sites. Quite amazingly, on some days we serviced three stations. We now have only five sites remaining.

    As we fly from site to site, the amount of work varies dramatically. At some sites, work is minimal, and all the team has to do is unbury the electronics box and remove the data from the drives. Because of the amount of snow accumulation, others require extensive manual labor digging up solar panels. Sometimes, the stations are not functioning properly and we need to completely unbury the seismometer or the entire site. Occasionally we have a broken solar panel. This could be caused by the weather or by someone (me) pulling to hard on the solar panel array and snapping the cast iron base. Oops!

    Buried Seismic Station
    Buried Seismic Station

    Digging Up Station
    Digging Up Station

    Busted Solar Panel
    Busted Solar Panel

    Digging Out Seismometer
    Digging Out Seismometer

    Yesterday we attempted to service site four from the Italian Base Mario Zuchelli. We flew out and arrived at the base. The team loaded the helicopters and headed to the mountain peak where the site resides. Within a few miles of the site, we had to turn back because the unpredictable weather shifted. As bummed as we were that site four wouldn’t get serviced immediately, it wasn’t all bad. We arrived back at Mario Zuchelli in time for their amazing Italian lunch. We were able to relax and walk around the base while we waited for the plane to pick us back up. On the way back to McMurdo, our pilots had to fly very low to stay out of the bad weather. This provided a stellar opportunity to see the Ross Ice Shelf, Adelie Penguins and some Weddell Seals. All in all, work did not get accomplished but it was not a completely wasted day.

    Adelie Penguin On Iceberg
    Adelie Penguins On Iceberg

    Ross Sea Ice Shelf
    Ross Sea Ice Shelf

    Adelie Penguins
    Adelie Penguins

    Weddell Seals
    Weddell Seals

    Today, to our satisfaction, weather rolled in, and we are grounded. This could not have come at a better time. McMurdo station gets this Saturday and Sunday off for Thanksgiving. This allows us time to physically recuperate and accomplish lab work. By Monday we will be caught up with data analysis and ready to fly. Hopefully, on Monday, the weather turns for the better and we get back out in the field to finish the year’s service missions ahead of schedule.

    Next week when we try to service site four again. We will receive another amazing helicopter ride and hopefully some more amazing food. I am currently in the process of making the first video of the year and you can follow me on twitter @BrianDuBay for frequent comments and pictures of the sites.

    Author
    Date
    Location
    McMurdo Station
    Weather Summary
    Cold cloudy and low visability
    Temperature
    -12
    Wind Speed
    6
    Wind Chill
    -17

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