Thursday, December 21, 2017

Antarctica 2017-18: Ohio Mountains

One of my favorite place in the Transantarctic Mountains, the Ohio Range and Bennett Nunatak. This range is quite small and the blue ice is magnificent. 
It was quite a cold day out. After spending hours trying to dig a seismic sensor out, in -25C temperatures, we abandoned the site and went to my GPS site, about 10 miles away, near the rock. Still cold, but easy work and time to enjoy the stunning landscape.
We made another stop to refuel the plane and went back to Siple Dome, on time for dinner.

Bennett Nunatak.

For once someone took a photo of me!

Mark Whetu teaching us how to use crampons in blue ice.

Back to the plane.

Refueling at the Ohio Mountains fuel cache.

I love those boots!

Mark Whetu, amazing mountaineer from New Zealand, and fun person to have around.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Antarctica 2017-18: Siple Dome

Welcome to Siple Dome! We spent 2 weeks there early December. We went there with the expectation of being stuck and not being able to work at all, due to the notorious bad weather in these parts... Well.. Siple Doom (as we liked to call it) did disappoint! 2 weeks of incredibly beautiful weather! We worked 6 days straight and finished our work, spending the second week in tshirt weather (McMurdo weather being bad, no plane could come and rescue us...!).

The dome is 100km x 100km located on the East side of the Ross Ice Shelf, off the Siple Coast. Originally an ice core camp, Siple Dome now is a refueling camp for science parties traveling Marie Byrd Land. In 1999 the science team at Siple recovered the deepest ice core at 974m... for a climate record of 97,600 years!

The mess tent and the Tucker used to groom the runway.

The mess tent where we eat and hang out. Small but very cool!

Nice after fieldwork snack made by our great cook.

Scissors do well with pizza.

Yummy food. Rob Teasdale from NZ.

Every year, a new game is learnt. Carcassonne is pretty fun!

Emily, our amazing cook - and seismic instruments shoveler.
When you climb Mt Everest every year - and other 8000ers, you relax in Antarctic. Richie Hunter from NZ.
Is Mark Whetu getting tired sometimes?
Home Sweet Home

Monday, December 18, 2017

Antarctica 2017-18: Leaving for Siple Dome on board the legendary Douglas DC-3!

After a week being delayed because of bad weather near McMurdo, we finally flew to Siple Dome to get some work done!
What a pleasure to fly this classic Douglas DC-3 built in 1943! This flying icon was remotorised with new Pratt & Whitney Turboprops to match today's safety and performance needs. Apparently there is still about 15,000 DC-3 planes around the world as candidates for the Basler conversion. Glad to know this beauty still has some years in the sky!

More info on Basler conversion:

Refueling the DC-3 with Mount Erebus in the background.

Classic look.



Fly by when leaving Siple Dome.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Antarctica 2017-18: Weddell Seals.

A Weddell Seal family is spending some time at Hut Point. Not much happening besides nice long naps on the sea ice... Sometimes, they hit the ice to create very interesting sounds on and below the ice.
Weddell Seal checking out the sea ice real estate.
Female Weddell Seal.

Weddell Seal pup.
Hanging out with mom...

Antarctica 2017-18: Snow Gauge Install on Ross Ice Shelf

We went to install snow gauges on the Ross Ice Shelf. A beautiful day! Until the storm moved in...

Mount Discovery.

The Royal Society Range.

Driving on the ice shelf.

An the Ross Ice Shelf.

Scott Landolt installing instruments on a tower.


Castlerock from the ice shelf road.

Antarctica 2017-18: McMurdo Station

A few shots of McMurdo, the biggest station on the continent. The station was officially opened in 1956. From 1962 to 1972, the town was powered by a nuclear reactor.

McMurdo and Observation Hill.
Near Derelict Junction, "downtown" McMurdo.
The newest buildings in town, used as dormitories.

Our Lady of the Snow in a blizzard.

Our Lady of the Snow with a nice "sunset" across the Sound.

My favorite place to hang out: the coffee house!

The internet link!

Antarctica 2017-18: Blizzard at Hut Point.

This season, the weather is a little difficult... We had a 3 days snow storm, bringing us 20cm of snow. Unusual for the driest place on Earth.
Impossible to do much outside, especially flying to Siple Dome... But great for some photography!

The Discovery Hut was built during Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery Expedition (1901-1904). It was the first official British Antarctic Expedition since the James Clark Ross expedition 60 years earlier.

Discovery Hut and McMurdo Station in the background.

Discovery Hut.
Discovery Hut.

Vince's Cross at Hut Point, commemorating George T. Vince death in 1902.

Hut Point with Vince's Cross.