Geoff Sims @ UNSW
Home South Pole Diaries 2012/13 29th December, 2012


Saturday, 29th December, 2012

Happy Camper and EBEX balloon (Geoff)

Today we returned from a 2-day "Happy Camper" course. This practical course teaches a number of things: risk awareness, how to sleep warm, various radio training, and most importantly, survival techniques (camping, tents, building snow trenches, etc.). We were fortunate enough to have unusually warm weather: +5 degrees C during the "day", and +1 C during the "night". In our spare time, we made an igloo. Well, we almost did anyway! I made a separate igloo blog post to document this feat.

Travelling to the camp site.

Arrival at the camp site.

John & Nic wander up a path, with Mount Erebus looming in the distance.

Kari, John and Evelyn practice using the stoves.

The stoves set up in the kitchen.

Campsite kitchen in use.

View of our camp.

Self portrait with Mount Erebus.

Team igloo.

Buckethead self portrait, taken during training for white-out (zero visibility) conditions.

And here's a timelapse of a few of our activities:

Just as we were about to head back to McMurdo, a long duration balloon (LDB) was launched. These are huge helium balloons, which, when fully inflated, expand to around the size of a football field. They are launched from McMurdo, and then spend a week or two travelling around the polar vortex. The geometry of nature is incredible (see for example a sample track path from a balloon launched last year). This particular launch was the EBEX experiment, measuring the intensity and polarization of the cosmic microwave background.

Upon our return to civilisation, we hit the local watering holes for some Sierra Nevada Pale Ales and foosball.

-- Geoff


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