Photo gallery Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4  Taylor Dome

Date:   December 12, 2006
Location:   Taylor Dome
Latitude:   77 degrees, 47 minutes South
Longitude:   158 degrees, 43 minutes East
Temperature:  −-18°C (0°F)
Wind Speed:  10.5 knots
Wind Chill:  −28°C (−18°F)
Elevation:  2,365 meters (7,759 feet)
Written by:  Joe
Meters of core drilled: 108

Notes on daily life

Today was dominated by making final preparations for finally leaving Taylor Dome.  Andrei, Mike, and I worked on making sure the sled containing the Eclipse Ice Coring Drill was packed and properly secured so it safely makes it to our next drilling site.  Dan B. was packing the sled containing his scientific instruments in a similar fashion.  Gordon, Josh and Rick were loading additional barrels of fuel on the Siglin sled and doing load pull tests on all the sleds with the tractors so that they can properly calculate the train set up.  This is an essential task to complete prior to travel to ensure we trek in the most efficient manner possible.  Dan D. and Lora worked on fixing one of our broken Naansen sleds so that she can use it to mount her radar at the field sites.  Cathy was making and packing meals so that we will have things to eat while we are on the road, and also securing things in the kitchen so they don’t all end up on the floor during rough travel.  Steve attached his radar unit to the back of the Blue Room with a long rope, which will drag behind and continuously record a radar trace while we drive from one site to another.  Gordon started up his GPS measuring instrument, which requires 10 hours of continuous operation in a stationary position before we can start moving.  The afternoon consisted of everyone chipping in to get the sleds in the configuration that we will use in the traverse.  The first train consisted of a challenger tractor followed by a Lehman sled with generators and all the mechanics tools, then a spreader bar pulling the Blue Room, a Siglin with the food, and the kitchen.  A test run was completed driving it around camp and everything seemed to work great. 

The second train consisting of the other Lehman sled with all of the science cargo, followed by a spreader bar pulling the fuel drum Siglin, the mechanics shelter, and the ice core Siglin was partially completed.  Dan D. took on the task as our official photojournalist during construction, taking over many digital photographs and movies.  More work is to be done first thing in the morning and with any luck we will be able to embark on our Antarctic voyage!

Date:   December 13, 2006
Location:   Traverse
Latitude:   77 degrees, 46 minutes 51 seconds South
Longitude:   158 degrees, 39 minutes 34 seconds East
Temperature:  −26°C (−14°F)
Wind Speed:   5 knots
Wind Chill:  −34°C (−29°F)
Elevation:  2,365 meters (7,759 feet)
Written by:  Lora
Meters of core drilled: 108
Kilometers traveled:  2

Lucky Number 13

At 3:13 on December 13th, the 13 team members pulled out of Taylor Dome.  The Pisten Bully was the first to pull out with Josh driving and Paul watching the crevasse detecting radar. A few minutes later Rick left with the train pulling the fuel, mechanics shelter, food, 2 inch drill, mechanics/tool shed and shower/outhouse sled.  When the first train was 0.5 km away the second and final train left with Dan D. driving.  The second train contained the science cargo, Blue Room, Kitchen, 3 inch drill sled, the ice core boxes, and the radar sled.  This train had to stay 0.5 km away from the first train to keep the radars from interfering with each other.  Cathy, Joe, and I rode in the kitchen, while Andrei, Dan B., Mike, Gordon and Steve road in the Blue room. 

The second train traveled for 6 minutes before the Cat with the forklift on the front, got bogged down in the snow and stopped pulling.  Dan D. radioed the lead train that we were stuck. Rick quickly unhitched, turned around, and came back to help dig out the poor fork Cat.

It was decided that we would take the Ice Core Box sled and move it from the second train to the first to take some of the load off of the fork Cat.  It took about an hour to reconfigure the trains and we were off again.  Unfortunately this ride ended abruptly when the fork Cat got stuck again.  Rick, again, helped to pull the fork Cat out.  While we were catching up to the second train Rick and Dan D. were carefully watching how each sled and each Cat were riding in the snow.  They determined that the fork Cat, which was driving with the fork up in the air was tilting as it drove through the snow causing it to get stuck.  The rest of the sleds seemed to be functioning as expected.     To allow the Cat to pull efficiently, the fork will be lowered and weight will be added. 

It was dinnertime when the final decisions were made about the Cats and sled configurations.  We stopped for the night 2 km from our last site.  We had hoped for more distance, but had also expected to spend some time getting the trains set up in the best possible fashion.  Spirits were high in camp.  It was exciting to move even a short distance.  We are finally on our way slowly but surely.  We try to  remember that the Tortoise always beats the Hare.