HomeUncategorized11-17-08: Survived the Caves (again)

Yesterday was long and eventful!  To start off (at 5:30 AM) I had beautiful SNOW. Visibility was limited, but fine now that I’m such a SEASONED driver! I was hoping it would continue all day but it cleared up by 10:00 AM.

Then I left ‘work’ to ‘volunteer’ as the Team Leader of a trip out to Cape Evans and the Ice Caves. The schedule showed I would be riding in Tina Marie (My favorite delta) which made me happy! At the last minute, Delta Dawn develped a leak, so she couldn’t take the 2nd group.  To make a long story short- I ended up in GAYLE – the smaller, sissy delta. (I may have grumbled and mumbled a TINY bit under my breath.) Point to note- I remained POSITIVE to the public!   Soooo… I waved as Tina Marie headed off with the first group.  30 Minutes later, I had Gayle loaded and off we headed to the SEA ICE.

I don’t care how many times one drives onto the sea ice – it is always a THRILL. Little thoughts run through my mind – “is it thick enough?” – “are there any NEW cracks that haven’t been tested?” – “how HEAVY is this delta fully loaded with 18 pax?” etc etc. 

The ‘arrangement’ was for the FIRST delta to drive past the ice cave and tour Cape Evans with the 2nd delta stopping at the ice cave first – then continuing on to Cape Evans. (Keeping the numbers of people and weight of deltas spread out!) Lo and behold as we approach the ice cave – there sits Tina Marie!!! Apparently she had a ‘part’ fall off (“Mechanical mishap” as broadcast on the radio!) It was only the REVERSE.  (I know it has another more technical name, but I can’t remember it!) Basically, she could still drive slowly FORWARD.  I laughed and laughed as the driver told how they did stop and retrieve ‘the part’. (We don’t litter out here!) All of a sudden GAYLE was looking pretty good!

The rest of the trip went smoothly. Once the snow stopped – the sky cleared and it got COLD. It amazes me how I can be so darn cold and yet enjoy every moment of it. The ice cave, (which by now – people have figured out I love leading those just to get to SLIDE down the ice chute!!!) was even COLDER inside than being out in the wind. When I brought the first group out – I told the next group I had to come out to warm up. They thought I was kidding. (We only allow 7 bodies or less in at a time.)  …oh, how quickly they apologize!!!

Last night’s Science Lecture: GHOST MOUNTAINS
Hidden Under Ancient Ice     – AGAP stands for Antarctic Gamburtsev Province.  In 50 years , this is the largest coordinated mission, with 6 countries teamed up, to ‘discover’ this EASTERN ice sheet of Antarctica. I gave a little WOO-HOO when I read on the slide that KANSAS UNIVERSITY is in partnership on this too!  To simplify what is going on – when you fly over this area – you see one huge mass of ice – scientists say it is 4 Kilometers thick. UNDERNEATH that little ice sheet are MOUNTAINS!  Mountains that are about the size of the Alps!!!  As luck would have it – I had the 3 British men/scientists on my Cape Evans/Ice Cave trip that will be flying to AGAP to do “Airborne Geophysical Surveys”.  Of the many goals listed, one that I recall is the hunt for the OLDEST ICE on the PLANET!

That’s it for now. It is my day off and I will now leisurely head to breakfast!


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