Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Getting Ready

For the three of us heading in to start the Aurora Basin project it is starting to feel pretty real now. We have been issued our kit - all manner of cold weather clothing from thermals to down outer layers, gloves and head coverings, to boots: and everything in between.

ABN Traverse team: me, Sharon (Field Leader) and Noel (AGSO/Mechanic)
We are scheduled to fly to the US McMurdo Station on Friday. This means a flight on the AAD Airbus A319 from Hobart - likely at the crack of dawn - connecting with a US C130 onwards to Casey.

A319 at Wilkins Aerodrome

C130 at Casey (Sheri Newman)

The challenge at this point is to figure out what you need/want in addition to the basic kit and fit it all into the 55kg allowance. For the deep field work at Aurora Basin, this requires additional thought about the implications of cold camp life. The temperatures will be around minus 25 and likely below minus 30 at times. The only warmed places will be our kitchen/living tent and generator tent: the latter serving also as a shower and wash "room". This means careful management of everything from changes of clothing to use of battery-powered devices which don't cope well if "deep soaked" in cold....sleeping bags tend to host a range of gadgets and water bottles etc as well as the intended warm body.

So the next couple of days means making this lot fit:

A bit of culling and some hard decisions remaining!

On a different note, the last couple of days have been devoted to pre-departure training. For some of the group this is their first trip to Antarctica, and some will be away a year. For those of us who have been before, it is a good chance to refresh our knowledge and to catch up on operational changes.

The medium range forecast is looking good for Friday, so a departure looks increasingly likely. The next post will likely be from Casey.