This could quite possibly be the last post from WAIS Divide. This week has been crazy. I got the bladder emptied and, with the help of the Arch Construction Crew, got it all dug out, folded up and packaged to go back to McMurdo. The weather has been really strange out here. One moment it will be sunny and calm and another it will be snowing hard with 15kt winds. It hasn’t been very conducive to working outside but there is so much to do in a short amount of time.
The plan for the bladder keeps changing like the weather. First we were going to deploy the new one then we decided to leave it in the box until next season. Then the National Guard decided they need to divert all there Herc flights here next week because there is no cargo to go to South Pole until the vessel arrives at McMurdo. Since we don’t have any cargo to come out either they are bringing fuel and since our single bladder is at max-fill we need to put out the other.
But first we need to plow up a pad for it so it is elevated off the snow surface. This requires the use of equipment which, at the moment has been occupied with building a T2 (big) cargo pallet. Of course we could use the Pisten Bully to do it but the mechanic wouldn’t think of actually using the thing…and I’ll stop there this time.
So yesterday we had two Herc missions scheduled but neither the weather here or at McMurdo was any good for flying in so they have been postponed to today. The first one should be bringing in the Carpenters and taking out our last science group. The second flight will be taking out most of the arch crew. Then Saturday, we should be expecting two more flights bringing fuel and taking away retro-cargo.
The flight bringing the carps will also be bringing com-techs to take down our satellite dish. They plan to be in on one flight and out on the next. So, as soon as they get here we will be without internet. I will still have the Iridium connection but it is painfully slow.
It looks like Luci & I will be out of the first wave of camp staff out. It is planned for sometime around the 5th of Feb. It will probably be later if things continue as they are going. This will put us in McMurdo during the thick of Vessel Offload time; perhaps the worst time of all to be there. Lots of trucks, noise, dust and confusion. Nonetheless I am considering staying an extra week in town to work. We’ll see.