Date:   December 22, 2006
Latitude:   78 degrees, 3 minutes South
Longitude:   152 degrees, 39 minutes, 32 seconds East
Temperature:  −-22°C (−8°F)
Wind Speed:  calm
Wind Chill:  −22°C (−8°F)
Elevation:  2,232 meters (7,320 feet)
Written by:  Joe
Kilometers Traveled 130
Meters of core drilled: 240

Notes on daily life

The big task of the day was to fix the broken fuel sled.  This was quite a difficult task, as this is our heaviest sled.  The 44 fuel drums, had been riding on the Siglin sled until one of the Air Force pallets they were resting on broke beneath their weight during rough travel.  This caused two drums to fall off and the sled itself to crack.  The first order of the day was to empty the Lehman sled containing the science cargo to make room for the fuel drums. How do you unload 44 fuel drums, weighing 400 pounds apiece, from the Siglin and load them up onto the Lehman without the proper use of the fork Cat?  The answer was to use the brute force of 13 Antarctic explorers!  We were actually able to use the forks much more then originally thought.  Without the hydraulic rams we were not able to move the forks up and down, but we were still able to tilt them up and down making a nice little ramp to roll the drums onto.  Using a ramp made out of sheets of plywood we were able to roll two barrels at a time from the Siglin to the forks on the Cat.  The Cat then tilted the forks up so that the barrels were stable, drove them over to the Lehman where the forks were then tilted down onto the bed of the sled and then the drums could be pushed off.  It was a lot of work for this process to be completed, but everyone pitched in to get the job done in just a few hours.  With the barrels removed we could finally see how bad the damage was to the sled. 

As it turns out it wasn’t nearly as extensive as we had originally expected, which was welcoming news.  Rick used some large rubber strips, originally intended for use as tracks for the Pisten Bully, to create a Band-Aid of sorts on the sled by screwing it onto either side of the crack to prevent it from worsening.  With the Siglin repaired we could now load the science cargo onto it and secure the load with cargo nets and straps.  By night’s end everything was properly repaired, the sleds were reloaded, and the trains were configured in such a way that we will be able to travel first thing in the morning. 

We also took a group photo since Steve will be leaving tomorrow making this our last night as a full team.  We will all miss you Steve!

Date:   December 23, 2006
Latitude:   78 degrees, 19 minutes, 54 seconds South
Longitude:   151 degrees, 52 minutes, 26 seconds East
Temperature:  −20°C (−4°F)
Wind Speed:   8 knots
Wind Chill:  −29°C (−20°F)
Elevation:  2,232 meters (7,320 feet)
Written by:  Lora
Meters of core drilled: 240
Kilometers traveled:  200

Steve left us today.  He had only planned to stay for half the traverse.  We waited to start driving until the plane arrived and left.  A Twin Otter arrived at 11:00 am. They had to land a little away from our camp because of the large sastrugi. We were happy to receive two cruise boxes with fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, cheese, movies and mail.  We all dove into the fresh apples and bananas. We were sad to lose Steve.

We drove 35 km today.   Rick and Cathy drove the first train. Dan B. and Gordon drove the second train.  It was Dan and Cathy’s first time driving the train and they did a great job.  I road in the Pisten Bully and monitored the crevasse radar for two legs and Andrei took the third leg.  On the second leg of today’s trip I got to drive the Pisten Bully and Josh monitored the crevasse radar.  The day ended with a great dinner of cheese tortellini with lots of fresh vegetables.