Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Relief pics

A few shots of 'relief' - unloading stores from the ships and carting them inland to the base. We usually have to deal with just the BAS ship, the Shackleton (the red one in the pics), but because the new base is under construction this year we've got the considerably bigger 'Amderma' too.

Cargo is unloaded onto the sea ice, which is frozen seawater, and only a couple of metres thick. It's not unknown for vehicles to disappear through the ice - so only relatively lightweight sno-cats are used. A ramp is bulldozed to allow the cargo to be pulled up to the much thicker ice shelf. From there the big Challenger tractors drag everything up to the base.

At the base the cargo is dumped in lines (currently about a mile long) perpendicular to the wind direction. Anything left downwind of another box would soon disappear in a snowdrift.

We've been lucky with relief this year, with only a short section of sea ice to work, an easy ramp and a short traverse of the shelf ice. It's not unusual to have to sledge all the cargo 60km from the nearest suitable site for the ship to moor.

Halley pics

A few pics around the base - click on the thumbnails for bigger pics.