|Geoff Sims @ UNSW|
Tuesday, 8th January, 2013
A very busy day. (John)
Our personal transport for the next few days will be a Twin Otter. These are an amazing aircraft, and have become the work-horse for transport to and from field sites in the Antarctic interior. They are able to land just about anywhere and carry just about anything - as long as it fits through the doors. This in fact drove the design of PLATO-R, which consists of two modules in two halves, the four pieces each exactly fitting through the Twin Otter doors.
Over breakfast we met with the Twin Otter pilots, Brent and Darrin. They seemed well pleased with our plans, especially when Craig showed them images of the Ridge A site taken this morning by PLATO-R's webcamera. Our discussion finished on a very satisfactory note with the pilot saying: "Just email us your flight manifest...and the coordinates of Ridge A".
There is a problem this year in that the USAP have changed from using black garbage bags to white ones. What no-one told the waste management folk is that a black garbage bag full of snow or stuck on a bamboo pole is the defacto way of marking out the skiway at a field camp, and the white ones just don't work as well...
We need 230 volts to charge our electric drills before we head out to Ridge A, but of course the station only has US 115 volts available. After breakfast I figured out how to make 230 volts using a 115 volt isolation transformer and some dodgy wiring.
While Sydney battles a record heat wave, it is slowly getting colder here and today the temperature dipped below -28C. I am finding that I can dress in my normal casual clothes and shoes, throw on some windproof pants, a balaclava and Big Red (as the Snow Goose parkas are affectionately known) and be perfectly comfortable outside. I much prefer this to +43C!
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