Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday, 7th July: The last three leave Station Nord.

At noon the Twin Otter left Station Nord for Longyearbyen with Dorthe, Sverrir and Trevor. They are expected in Copenhagen Sunday evening.
There was just time to re-erect our kitchen weatherport from Flade Isblink at Station Nord. During summer the weatherport will serve a living quarters for scientists at Station Nord.

This is the last entry in the diary from Flade Isblink. It has been an eventful season – a little more dramatic than we are used to; but we got what we came for: All results indicate that the new drilling fluid works, so our primary goal is reached. We have got 430 m of the possible 600 m ice core and it is going to be interesting to see the climate history of Flade Isblink unfold as we analyze the core. The radar operations of our colleagues from the University of Kansas have also been successful, so all in all it has not been a bad season.

We are grateful for the financial support from The Danish Research Council for Nature and Universe (FNU) and National Science Foundation (NSF-OPP) that made this project possible. We thank the New York Air National Guard (109th TAG) and VECO for wonderful support and Danish Polar Center for logisic support.

A special thank you from all of us to the Danish Forces four FUT's (Svend, Thomas, Kim and Klaus) and the Royal Danish Air Force personel at Aalborg Air Base for their competent assistance.

Thursday, 6th July: Cargo is re-packed and dried.

The Twin Otter is fully occupied transporting people for other projects from Longyear-byen in Svalbard to Station Nord.

During the day our three re-packed our cargo and dried out boxes and crates. The cargo is put on pallets and made ready for transport to Denmark by C-130 later in July, along with the ice cores. During the coming weeks the ice cores remain in the freezer at Station Nord.

Wednesday, 5th July: Flade Isblink camp is now closed.

As the e-mail connection with people in the field is now closed, the following is composed in Copenhagen:

At 0600 the Twin Otter flew to Flade Isblink to pick up the remaining cargo. As in prevoius days the weather was marginal: Fog, and poor visibility. At 1315 Dorthe could report taht all cargo had been retrieved from camp site. During the last flight the Danish C-130 arrived in Station Nord. The cargo from the previous day was loaded on board, while the ice cores and the rest of the cargo had to wait. Dorthe, Sverrir and Trevor said good bye to Lars, Peter and Nancy who left on the C-130 for Denmark.

Now tree people remain at Station Nord.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tuesday, 4th July: We have picked up the ice core.

We wake up in the same dense fog, but at 1200 the fog is lifting so at 1215 we depart with the Twin Otter towards Flade Isblink. Unfortunately, the fog still shrouds the center part of the ice cap, and it doesn’t look like we are going to make it to camp. However we get the most fantastic ride to camp: Capt. Jim Haffey finds a clear spot some 10 km from camp, and then we “surf” a few meters above the surface all the way to camp. Well done! We taxi to the spot where the ice crates are buried. We excavate the crates from the wet snow while it is raining and pull the completely soaked crates up. Luckily the ice in the crates is still “ice”, and we manage to load 18 crates into the Twin Otter that takes off towards Station Nord in the first attempt. One hour later the Twin Otter lands again, and we load the remaining 21 crates. At the third Twin Otter landing, the fog has closed in again and reduced visibility to 300m, so we decide to load priority cargo and ourselves.
We take out all Kansas equipment so that we may send it back to Kansas quickly. We are so happy that we now have still solid ice cores in our freezer being cooled down to -20 C.

In the evening we have a special 4th July meal: Hamburgers.
After supper we build a pallet for the Danish C-130 consisting of all the cargo we have retrieved from camp and personal gear left at Nord.

Tomorrow the Danish C-130 will arrive. In the original plan it was intended that everybody and all cargo, including the ice should go back on this plane. Since we still have 5 tons of cargo on the ice, we decide that Dorthe, Sverrir and Trevor remain at Station Nord and that only Lars, Peter and Nancy fly back tomorrow.

If weather permits, we will pick up the rest of the cargo at Flade Isblink, dry out the equipment and palletize it for later C-130 transport to Denmark.

Weather at Station Nord: Fog in the morning, lifting during the day, sunny in the evening. Temperatures: 0 deg. C

Monday, 3rd July: Boring fog.

A really boring day of waiting in dense fog. Visibility never exceeds 400 m and this halts all flight operations. The highlight of the day is Trevors cake baking project.

Weather at Station Nord: Fog, no wind and 0 deg C.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sunday, 2nd July: Arrival of the Twin Otter. First attempt failed.

Twin Otter sitting in weather not suited for flying.

The Twin Otter crew start to work at 1800 after crew rest and start to mount skis on the plane. At 2200 we fly towards Flade Isblink. Unfortunately the weather has become progressively worse during the day and we are not able to land at the camp site. During flight we saw the margin of the ice cap, and it is now heavily affected by melting, and we saw several melt water rivers between the ice cap and Station Nord. It is now impossible to drive to camp by snow mobile. We saw the cargo line in camp as we flew over and we observed that it rained on the windscreens of the Twin Otter. The climax of the day is a walk to the other end of the run way at Station Nord with Thomas and Lars from Station Nord and all their sled dogs (At Station Nord there are now three Lars’es: Little Lars (our 7 foot guy), Lars the cook and Lars).

Saturday, 1st July: We wait for the Twin Otter

The tough Flade Isblink crew (the rifle is compulsory as polar bear protection).

Another day of waiting. Weather is fine so we take a walk to the drinking water lake. Later in the day rumours start to come in, that the Twin Otter is coming and that it will arive Sunday morning at 0600 hours. We spend a really nice Saturday evening with the people at Station Nord and enjoy the fantastic food prepared by the chef (Lars).

Weather at Station Nord: Sunny and windy.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Friday, 30th June: Waiting at Station Nord.

Spring has arrived in Station Nord, and the lemmings are out. We wait the whole day on news about airplane or helicopter. The day passes with ‘pre-sleep naps’ before and after meals. The internet cafe is open and is used intensely. In the evening we watch a movie in building 19: Aliens vs. Predators which begins with a tough expedition to Antarctica. Late in the day we learn that the Twin Otter has received permission to fly in Greenland. We hope to get our cargo out before Wednesday 5th July.

Weather at Station Nord: Fine with winds up to 12 m/s from S. There were clouds at Flade Isblink, and we believe that winds have been high on top of the ice cap.

Thursday, 28th June: Goodbye to four.

There are no news about airplane or helicopter so we decide to stick to our plan to send four people back on the Danish Challenger. At lunch time the Royal Danish Air Force Challenger arrives, and an hour later we say good bye to sigfus, Steff, Bo and Thorsteinn. The Challenger is a small jet for 7 passengers. It is equipped with leather seats with good leg space so the four departing people enjoyed a luxury ride of 3.5 hours to Denmark.

Weather at Station Nord: Fog in the morning, sun the rest of the day. We can see our snow mobile tracks going down off Flade Isblink from Station Nord.