Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Final relief brief - I become a sno-cat driver

Just a brief entry today as I am very tired. Quite a busy day today and I think that I am feeling the effects of sleeping out on the monkey island. Nearly a full days training today, starting at 9am with radio, tent and primus training. Thats right we still use primus stoves and the design hasn't changed since Shackleton's day. In fact at Gritviken we saw the primus that Shackleton used on his famous voyage from Elephant Island. After that was a vehicle briefing. This was a little strange as there aren't that many vehicles on the ship to practice on. There are a few, but not ones that we will drive.

Finally after lunch we had our final relief brief. Here we were finally given our jobs for the relief. We are also slightly slower that anticipated and will probably make icefall on Thursday morning. As I mentioned earlier we are going to split into two 12 hr shifts in order that the unloading and driving can continue 24 hrs a day. I have been given the job of shelf-ice driver of sno-cat K21. Since we have a run of 65km to do and the speed of the sno-cat might only be 10km/h the round trip might be 12hrs. So I have been buddied up with Kirsty the MET girl. I just hope I get along with her. I guess after 12 days (estimated relief time) of sitting in the same sno-cat cab, for 12 hrs every day, I will get to know her pretty well. Oh yeah I am on days but this makes little difference as the sun never sets and won't set until the beginning of Feb (I am told).

The other interesting thing that happened today was that the winter base commander (WBC) got his video camera out and I sort of started a video diary. BAS has been asked to do this for the Natural History Museum which is doing something about the internation polar year. Anyway the upshot is I might be on TV sometime, but then again I might not. It was quite difficult to ramble on to a camera for no reason. Will add some photos tomorrow.

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