Archive for the ‘Base’ Category

April SANAE 47 Newsletter

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

The April newsletter for the team is available here online – click the link to go to the PDF file. Enjoy

SANAE 47 Newsletter – April 2008

Spindrift (fine particles of ice and snow) form ethereal shifting patterns known as \'snowsnakes\' as they are blown across the landscape

Raise your glass to Moose

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Like, polar bears, there is a distinct lack of moose in Antarctica. The largest animal living entirely terrestrially on the continent (bar migratory homo sapiens) is a tiny mite. Of course, the biomass of the animals that occur on the fringes of the continent and live by land and air or water is immense – seals, penguins and other birds, whales and every type of sea creature. Here at SANAE we are a little too far from the coast to see more than petrels, some wandering skuas and the aforementioned mites. However, the Moose is particularly missed – Moose being the nickname of my friend Nic Good. Nic is the creative power behind the Fresh Air Crew, an adventure film-making company that has brought the outdoors and extreme sports community some of their most well-known documentaries. Humble and adventurous, Moose is also very generous, and when I was bemoaning the difficult of finding a suitable pair of ski’s in South Africa in the weeks before our departure he immediately donated a pair of his (pictured above). Kitted with skins which allow cross-country and uphill travel, they are ideal for moving swiftly around on the snow and ice near the base, allowing me to make inspections of the scientific and logistic installations without resorting to a noisy snowmobile. It’s also good exercise – at the moment mostly exercising the muscles used to stand up after falling over 😉 . The photograph above was taken near the inteferometer array just before 16h00 this afternoon as I was returning to the base, with the overcast sky turning the world shades of blue while the weak setting sun tried almost in vain to add a dash of colour. For a while I lay on the ice listening to the wind, deeply at peace and filled with a sense of belonging. Then, tightening the bindings, I skied back to the base to raise a glass to Moose. Thanks, mate.

Does YOUR job include this?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

I just had to post this picture. We had parked one of the mobile accommodation units on a sled (aka ‘caboose’) in front of the base for repairs, and during the past storms it collected a massive snowdrift. After the caboose was moved to it’s winter home, we needed to remove the snow to prevent further accumulation. Fortunately, as part of our pre-expedition training, the whole team learns to operate the heavy vehicles, including the 25+ ton Challengers and Caterpillar bulldozers. So, for most of the daylight hours today I happily rumbled around pushing snow, in a delicate ballet of bulldozers and bucket Cats. The weather was wonderful, with little wind and subzero temperatures in the single digits for the fist time in weeks, and so we worked until sunset… at 15h30. The first wag that makes a quip about ‘Dozer Doc’ gets a handful of snow down their collar… *grin*

Kudos to Santjie for the cool photos.