Meeting the Polarstern

One of the major jobs for the I-Beam traverse was to meet the Polarstern to offload cargo and load all the rubbish and empty fuel drums we had from previous years.  The arrival of the ship was brought forward by 10 days after they made good headway through the ice (burning 45 tons of fuel a day!!) making for a busy 24hrs for us culminating in Dave and I finding a route off the iceshelf and down onto the sea ice.
IMG_7582 Dave driving out to the Polarstern on the first misty morning.  I never really got used to walking or driving on the sea ice even though it was over a meter thick.IMG_7587 Three staff from one of BAS’s other bases flew in to help us.  In the image above you can see Denzel walking back to the pisten bully in soft snow.  IMG_7589 Tim and the three guys from Halley stayed on board while Dave and I stayed in the Caboose.  They were put up in the hospital ward which had one of the best showers ever (or maybe it was just because we hadnt washed in a while)IMG_7591 We were treated like royalty onboard with endless food and drink.  Drinks with captain (front left) turned into rather a long night of free drinks.IMG_7603 Tim looking a bit tired and sunburnt in the middle of the bar.  I dont think there was a single moment this night were any of us didnt have at least two drinks on the go.IMG_7607Midnight sun from the deck of the Polarstern.  The caboose was at the top of the ramp with the tracks created by the endless coming and going of the vehicles.
IMG_7616 The Ship from the top of the rampIMG_7618 It was amazing to be standing on the ice offloading cargo while the ship wasnt even moored to anything.  The Polarstern is double hulled and can carry fuel between the two hulls and can break ice up to 7m thick.IMG_7625 Fuel bladders ready to be towed back to camp.  Each bladder is just under 6000L (yes that is the right amount of zeros)IMG_7627 Generosity.  Crisps, beer and coke to add to our rations!IMG_7629 The Halley boys, Silver, Tom and Denzel (any photo captions welcome).  Having been working in a team of three for a few weeks it was amazing having these guys with us for ten days, especially when lifting science gear weighing 500kg.IMG_7651 Denzel saying a last goodbyeIMG_7663 The two pisten bullies double heading (both pulling at once) to get 4 of the fuel bladders up the ramp after the ship had left.IMG_7666 Tim and Silver in deep thought over an unhappy Pisten Bully the day the Polarstern left.  I think Tim was happy to have another “Mech” along for a while.  As someone who doesnt work on their own vehicle I find it amazing that these guys were taking engines to bits in the middle of the Ronne Ice shelf.IMG_7668A very happy team after a busy 4 days.  Then it was just lots of sorting to do!

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One Comment

  1. Debbie Washington February 19, 2016 at 1:51 pm #

    I have really enjoyed looking at your pictures and and comments thank you for those. It’s so lovely to see Mathew een if it’s only in a picture. It looks like you’re all doing an amazing job out there. It’s Mathew birthday today so I’m looking forward to seeing him next month to make him a chocolate cake. Stay safe all of you
    Debbie Washington

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