Greetings Sitrep Subscribers,
Our first full day in The Home Of the Blizzard!
While it wasn’t quite hurricane conditions today (around 70kmph / 40-50 knots winds; minus 39 Celsius with wind chill at its worst this morning), Cape Denison still laid on a truly challenging welcome. We spent most of the day indoors variously writing diaries, reading books and tidying up a bit, in anticipation of the delivery of the rest of our equipment and supplies. However, the katabatic winds ensured that no chopper would be able to land safely during the day so we maintained contact with L’Astrolabe crew to update them with local weather conditions in the hope we could between us arrange a heli-ops delivery of our gear.
This afternoon, Ted and Chris took the quad bikes for a run to warm them up and to check out the main Mawson’s Hut and the Granholm Hut – Mawson’s Hut was almost entirely buried up to the roof in snow and ice - while the rest of us variously busied ourselves with other chores to get our own living quarters (Chez Sorensen) in better shape.
For lunch, Angus whipped up a wicked pasta arrabiatta while the tea-time menu was chicken or beef soup with crackers washed down with a sniff of Banrock Station Shiraz. We had barely finished tea when we heard a chopper coming into land unannounced, and all six of us raced out to help unload because the wind was still whipping through at 35-plus knots – not exactly favourable conditions for heli-ops. That kept us busy for the rest of the evening as we began to sort out and store our gear.
The next couple of days will be spent continuing to set up camp: for starters, the tents need to go up, while I still need to sort out my kitchen and arrange the larder. The A-Factor will also continue to dictate matters to an extent. You wouldn’t believe just how difficult it is to fetch some water for our coffee or dinner. Also, I had an absolute bugger of a time trying to film some penguins in the katabatic winds. Think I’ll wait for calmer conditions before trying that again.
(All words and photos Copyright Simon Mossman 2011)