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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The logistics of bodily function

People keep asking!

The poo is incinerated and the pee is flown out to Resolute where it goes into the sewage system. There will be 70 odd gallons of frozen pee here in the dark of winter waiting until the start of next season when it will be flown out on one of the empty flights returning from camp set-up. The blokes stand on the cooler box and let fly, the women use a jug in the privacy of the Palace and airlift it to the drum.

Kind of cool to think that there will be a bit of me up here for the winter.

Winding down

We are 5 days short of the second anniversary of Berrimilla's closest approach to Beechey Island. Eerie feeling!  We were about 40 miles south (so only 60 or so miles from here)  when we called it off and turned east. The weather that day in Barrow Strait was awful - freezing rain, about 30 knots from the east and ice closing in and an unhelpful forecast.

One for the wall:

Today should be the final day for packing up the camp. We're down to the minimum in the kitchen, most of the comms are down with just the C band working to keep this internet link up for as long as possible, all the science is done, greenhouse comms set up for the winter and all but the essentials packed away. Everything must be packed dry because any moisture will freeze and possibly destroy the equipment and tents etc will mildew. There will be about a metre of snow and ice in winter. Then the whole place must be made bearproof - even the Humvee where the remaining food is stored is vulnerable to a hungry bear and the doors must be cargo-strapped.

If we get flights today, some of the 13 people left here will fly out with as much of the gear as will fit and tomorrow all the rest of the people and gear. All depends on the weather - we could end up camping in the mess tent living on noodles until Polar Shelf can get to us with aircraft. Here's the forecast:

At 0430 (I'm in boat mode so three hour sleeps...) we have 8/8 at 2000 ft and 20 miles vis and it's not raining yet so flyable. We will hear from Resolute in about 3 hours.

Watch this space - the Mice are in charge.

News from the Throne Room.

This may be the last email until we get back to Resolute - still taking down the camp and the internet comes down in an hour or so. More pics here
and I will keep adding to it until the comms go. The traverse would take all the cliches to describe - bright sunshine, awesome, breathtaking, gobsmacking amaaazing. All that stuff. And pretty cool too. We got back to camp after midnight. The crater is a very complex feature and I cannot do it justice - Pascal, on the other hand, knows it intimately and it was fascinating to listen. There's an old coral reef in the rim...
For the curious - the poop tent I took down yesterday was the backup - it housed the Second Throne. Today we took down the Poo Palace, after moving the Imperial Throne into the shed containing the about to hibernate ATVs. Pic will follow eventually.

It's astonishing what you can get into a Twotter. We had 3 flights today taking gear and people out - probably none tomorrow as the forecast is bleak. High wind and rain. Hoping to get everything out on Thursday.