Anne, Devin and I flew out to Lake Vanda in a US Antarctic Program 212 helicopter. We flew in a US helo because AntNZ only has one helo this year, and it was busy flying a giant radar over the sea ice to measure its thickness. The US pilot was happy to fly us to Vanda; it’s his first season, and he hadn’t been out there before. Thus, we did a bit of sight seeing over the Asgard Range.
We flew into Wright Valley, which hosts Lake Vanda, from the south and swung back east to camp. That gave me a great view of our science and diving tents on the lake ice. They are the tiny spots just above the grouping of three islands, in the shade from a cloud.
We landed near the NZ huts at the east end of the lake, and that is where our main living camp is. One hut is a kitchen and the other two are for storage and science. We sleep in the individual mountain tents (Tango tents from Mountain Hardware).
The camp on the ice has two tents, one on either side of the future dive hole.
One tent is for dive gear and dive prep. The other is for sample processing and analysis. It is extra large because another group will need a large tent later in the season, and it saves helicopter time and fuel if we use their tent first. We are still setting up.
With all this gear, we need transportation between our living camp, our lake science camp and various drill holes in the ice.
One of my first jobs was marking ropes and lines in 5 m intervals so we can see how deeply we’ve put various pieces of gear into the lake.
It was a great job for a warm, mostly wind-free day.
In fact, the weather has been very warm, with many of us going down to only a layer or two and gloves optional much of the time. This makes it more comfortable, but it also means that the ice is already melting, which will soon make the work more difficult. I’m hoping the weather turns colder soon!
This was posted by Bill Sumner for Dawn.
Information was emailed to me by Karl Drury and included this note from Dawn:
Things are going very well. On our third day out here (4th for Ian and Tyler), the tents are all up, the first dive hole made, many water samples, and some equipment deployed. I just set up the microscopes and started playing with the photography system.
It’s going to be a great field season!