Sky Blu

Still getting through the backlog of photos so heres another post with some shots of Sky Blu where I was based for a couple of weeks in November last year and a few days off and on in the last couple of months.  Sky Blu is a blue ice runway and field camp roughly 600km south of Rothera which is permanently staffed by at least three staff for the summer season.  When I first flew into Sky blu after my week at Fossil Bluff (http://www.mountainstotheseaphotography.com/2015/12/fossil-bluff/) I could not believe how cold it was.  As Sky blu is at 4500ft above sea level it gets pretty cold and gets some incredibly high winds.  On the day I arrived it was -25degC and about +25deg inside the hut!  The runway at Sky Blu is essential to BAS operating deeper into the Antarctic Continent as the runway is made of blue ice allowing the larger airplane (Dash 7) to land on wheels allowing more cargo and fuel to be flown in.  The camp is staffed by two “mechs” and a field assistant with the mechs keeping the various machines working and clearing snow and the field assistant covers met observations, communications and various day to day chores around the camp.IMG_6266The pilots accommodation at the far end of camp.  All of the huts and tents are very spread out due to high winds.
IMG_6273The living melon hut and the various other tents strung out in a line.IMG_6263Inside the pilots melon hut
IMG_6330Inside the living melon hut.  Blair (far left) Brian (middle in orange) and Stu (far right) spent most of their summer at Sky blue going back to Rothera for a break about every three weeks.IMG_6332The comms desk and food storage.  IMG_6335Sky blue from one of the nearby peaks.  The two dots on the right are the melon huts and the other dots in line are (in order) the toilet tent, weatherhaven (sleeping) and the Garage.  The smaller dots are stores of various things.IMG_6309 There are a couple of peaks around Sky Blu which are great for a quick outing.  Brian, Blair and Bruno on “Mende”IMG_6340 Blair strolling up “Lanzerotte”IMG_6360 High winds outside the living Melon HutIMG_6426 There is also lots of ice.  While there were a few of us waiting around we managed a pretty good game of curling using large food tins and various brushes.  Cheese, Al and Sam discussing the rules.IMG_6448 Cheese in actionIMG_6552 Stu in giving a tin of beans some speed.IMG_6620 Facilities at Sky Blu are pretty limited.  After we had been there a couple of weeks Stu rigged up a shower.  I think this is Sam showering but I didnt want to zoom in.IMG_6655 Inside the sleeping tent.IMG_6658The sleeping tent.IMG_6657One of the coolest things I learnt while at Sky blue is that when its cold your washing freezes and then becomes dry without every becoming wet again.  This was a complete revelation to me (called sublimation) but probably not to most people who paid attention in school.IMG_6668Probably my favourite thing at Sky Blu was the ice crystals in the underground garages.  IMG_6678Midnight on Doppler Nunatak.

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2 Comments

  1. Papa Bravo March 11, 2016 at 5:15 am #

    Wow. PIcs are amazing. You are really doing it. Letter coming soon! Cheers from the US

    • aliirose March 13, 2016 at 12:59 am #

      Cheers Pete – funnily enough I was thinking of you recently as I came across an album by “booogie longo” on my ipod. Dire times call for dire music and all that.

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