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.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Wednesday, 28th June: The great journey by sled to Station Nord.

This is where all the ice core boxes are buried.

This is our cargo line.

Everybody is up at 0300 and before breakfasr we all take our tents down (North Face 12' domes). Breakfast consists of muesli, bread and cheese, Parmaham and a good cup of coffee. Personal equipment of the first four to go (Sigfus, Steini, Bo and Steff) is strapped down on the two Nansen sledges along with the Kansas internet equipment, and at 0430 Sverrir and Lars drive off with the first crew to Station nord. The snow is very wet, soft and heavy. The drive down off the ice cap is quite unnerving since
the snow is so slick that the snow mobiles have no way of stopping during the decent. The terrain outside the ice cap is only partly covered with snow, which is so soft, that the unfortunate one who steps off the sleds sinks in to the hips in soaking wet snow. The trip is done without incidents, except for Sigfus who falls off the sled and takes a few rolls in the snow.
While the first team in on the way, the second team takes down the kitchen weatherport.and packs the last items. Sverrir and Lars are back in camp at 1100. With the sledges and snow mobiles we move the last cargo into the cargo line, where we now have lined up 101 pieces of cargo. Together with the 39 crates of ice core which are buried in the snow we have a total of 9219 kg cargo. We have to leave this cargo behind until we get opportunity to pick it up by Twin Otter airplane or helicopter.
There is less load on the second trip which has to occur during the warmest part of the day; but we reach Station Nord safe and sound at 1500. We are received in a fantastic way by the four Station Nord people (Svend, Thomas, Kim and Claus) and a bone weary crew eats supper and try to be in a celebration mood in the bar until the eyes simply close on their own. We will take revenge tomorrow!

Weather: It has been white out by fog all day and no wind.
Temperatures: -2 to +2 C.

We are so glad that we mapped out the route on GPS on Monday. Otherwise we would not have been able to navigate down in conditions with zero contrast and visibility.

Tuesday, 27th June: Camp is struck.

It is the grand day of packing! We weigh and move all boxes from the drill dome tent to our cargoline. Then we take down the drill tent.
There is also hectic packing activity in the kitchen tent. The great tangle of internet connections and lap-tops is reduced to one single line which is kept open until 2100 in the evening. Late in the afternoon we celebrate midsummer with a bonfire of the flooring plywood from the drill tent.
During the day we pack, weigh and document 70 boxes of cargo and it is a very tired group of people that goes to bed at 0200. At 0300 they all get up again!

Weather: Overcast, fog and frost, wind 3 m/s from S. Temperatures 0 to +3 C.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Monday, 26th June: We are packing down.

We wake up to a warm sunny day and everybody starts packing equipment into boxes. Sigfus measures temperatures in the bore hole. At the bottom it is -12 C. During the day we pack all drilling and scientific equipment. The remaining food is sorted out. Dry food will be transported to Station Nord. The frozen food has been stored at
marginal temperatures for a while so we decide not to bring that out.
Plastic and cardboard is removed from the frozen food we plan to leave on site. Sverrir and Thorsteinn drive down to Station Nord on snow mobiles to check if it still is possible to to go all the way. They return after supper and report that the track is still good, but the snow is wet and heavy so the snow mobiles may not pull a heavy load.

Weather: Sunny, wind 2 m/s from NW, temperatures 0 to +3 C.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Saturday, 24th/25th June: Drilling is done!!!

This is our last day of drilling, and at 4 AM we pull the last ice core up. It is very beautiful, 1.40 m long and the final depth is 435.93 m. The core is logged and processed and packed to 435.70 m. The lowest 23 cm receive special treatment: It is carefully cleaned and used for ‘party ice’ in whiskies served. The final 3 crates of ice cores and samples are buried in our ‘cementery’, where we now have 39 crates buried under 1 m of snow to keep them from melting.

It is Saturday ‘night’ and we begin preparations with ‘snow showers’ and cooking. The day is warm and sunny with temperatures above freezing so the snow is wet and heavy. We enjoy an excellent meal with grilled salmon and gorgonzola, lamb roast with red wine sauce and vegetables and mashed potatoes (chefs: Steffen and Sverrir) Afterwards we move outside to enjoy the weather.

A surreal evening begins (probably best understood by people in camp): We had a shooting contest with a laundry machine filled with tomatoes as target. During the last days of drilling it was a fight to make the laundry machine spin our ice chips because the drill fluid caused the machine to slowly disintegrate. We wonder whether the producer of the laundry machine ever considered these two uses: Spinning ice chips and target practice? Later we got a telephone call telling us, that the Danish C130 flight to Station Nord was cancelled, but a substitute would be found. A short while later we were called again and told that the Twin Otter that was supposed to pick up the whole camp and fly us to Station Nord in three days was postponed. However, spirits in camp were high and we decided to go to the Moon. We walked into the ‘dark’ of the kitchen tent with blinds on the windows and enjoy the premiere of ‘Life on the Blink’. We laughed our way through three shows of the movie and continued the evening playing dice and talking. This Saturday night has to be really long because we want to switch back to a normal day and night rythm. Sunday is therefore cancelled, and people have to sleep through until Monday morning.

Weather: Sunshine, winds 1 m/s from NW, temperatures -1 to +2 C

Friday, 23rd/24th June: 400 m passed and 400 m cake eaten.

We woke up to a day with 13 m/s winds and low clouds. It is now our second last drilling day, and we spend again the whole day drilling and processing. Today we passed 400 m depth and we celebrated this by eating a cake. We still drill in the new fluid, and we have enough of this for the rest of the drilling. The fluid column is about 10 m now, and drilling is a little more difficult at this depth. We have lost the inner core barrel several times, and it is difficult to get the reamer down to full depth. Theories are that either there are ice chips sticking to the hole wall or that we are now so deep that bore hole closure by ice flow becomes a problem.

For supper we got a fantastic pork roast with gravy and mashed potatoes and vegetables and for dessert a 400 m cake (chef: Bo).

Weather: Overcast, snow, winds 10-13 m/s from NW and temperatures -3 to -1 C.

Thursday, 22nd/23rd June: Record Drilling

Ice core drillers come in different sizes.

An overcast day with winds ou to 8 m/s. All hands have still been busy drilling and processing ice cores and once again we succeeded in beating our own record.
We drilled and processed 35.50 m ice core and reached a depth of 382.11 m. We did not encounter any major incidents.

The laundry machine we use to spin and separate the ice chips from the drilling fluid is about to disintegrate after 2 weeks of use.
We have now filled 34 crates with ice cores and samples, and we estimate to fill a total of 39 crates when we stop drilling Saturday evening.
Temperatures today: -4 to -2 C

Wednesday 21st/22nd June: The deepest ice core from small ice caps in Greenland.

We have sunshine with rather warm temperatures with a short period during night with
Ice fog. The day passes uneventfully with drilling and processing. We beat our own daily production record by drilling 33.87 m to a depth of 346.61 m. During the day we celebrate that we have passed the depths of Renland drilling at 324 m and Hans Tausen drilling at 344 m. Today we saw several layers with iclusions of 2 mm particles in the ice core. We don’t know whether the particles are volcanic ash, dust or biological material. This will be very interesting to find out when we get the ice home for analysis.

In camp we have an exiting film project going. We will have a premier show on Saturday of ”Life on the Blink”, and we hope to put the film on the web at a later stage. A still shot from the movie can be seen below.

For supper we had pork roast with pasta (chefs: Sigfus and Trevor)
Weather: sunny, winds up to 5 m/s from N, temperatures -5 to -1 C.