Well, the gear has now all arrived (it arrived on the same plane that brought Karl), and we are all set to leave tomorrow. We have about 7000 pounds of food, camp gear and science gear -- drill, protective equipment, etc. -- with us this year. Karl has completed his refresher course in Antarctic survival, and today we collected frozen food, one of the last items "pulled", given perishability.
I went out today to guide the helicopter pilots to the site, so that they know exactly where we want them to put our camp. The boxes for the drill weigh as much as 250 pounds, so if the pilot drops the gear more than a few meters from where we want to drill, it is not a small matter to move it. The site looks good after a year away. The snow is smooth, where last year it was very rough with sastrugi (wind forms). After I left, there were three more flights with just cargo, taking most of our gear and dropping it there. The last remaining bits will fly with us tomorrow.
During my flight, the valley walls and floors were stunning as ever. The infinite variety of shapes and patterns in the rocks of this area is truly remarkable.
Finally, Toby and I spent some time finalizing the packing of the sample bottles we will use in our sampling of snow pits, and now we are getting ourselves all packed up to leave in the morning. Tomorrow morning at 10:15 is our scheduled time. We are looking forward to a great season. I'll send news when we return.
ion pages from 2003 and 2004