As the winter season rapidly closes in for transition to the summer crew, one of the tasks for the dieso team is to prepare the air support equipment ready for the season's aviation activities.
This requires several trips to the Whoop Whoop ski-way, to recovery one of the groomers for an annual service, deliver 50 drums of ATK and change out the skid steer for a new unit.
A project plan, equipment and support team were established and the first trip was under way for the 6 hour journey to the plateau. Conditions were great and the team were in high spirits as we trundled our way through iceberg alley and up to our destination. On arrival it was all hands on deck to get the huts up and running and prepare the evening meals thanks to our newly appointed chef Paulie.
Day 2 was all action, with plenty of digging required to chip away the snow and ice around the groomer and containers. The groomer recovery team where very meticulous, approaching their role like an archeological dig, making sure not to damage any of the machine's components. Dieso Jose did his groomer-whispering trick and had the big girl fired into life in no time. Whilst the groomer was being freed from its ice-bound tomb, the skid steer was awakened from its slumber and 28 drums of ATK was unloaded at the fuel cache.
Approaching late afternoon the weather started to turn bad. Luckily the final tasks were completed just before it settled into a full on ground blizzard. The team enjoyed a warm dinner and coffee, and retired for the night exhausted from the day’s activities.
That night the blizzard didn’t let up and continued into the next day, with visibility being an issue for departure. The decision was made to wait another night for the more promising weather predicted the next day.
Day 4 The wind was still persistent but clear skies above meant our visibility had improved and allowed us to head back to station. After packing up the huts and getting the equipment going, we were on our way. The weather improved to perfect conditions and made the trip back to station a pleasant journey. Coming off the plateau and seeing the Vestfold Hills and iceberg backdrop is a visual spectacle that you will forever cherish.
Getting back on station the team made sure the intrepid expeditioners were welcomed back to a hero's welcome. We enjoyed a nice cold one and warm dinner, perfect for discussing our tail of epic adventure.
A big shout out to the Whoop Whoop team for their valued hard work: Paul, Jose, Ian, JLO, Paulie, and the team at BOM for the regular weather updates.
Lee King, SMS