I have spent most of November at Fossil Bluff originally going out for “a week or so” and eventually staying for eighteen days. I was last at Fossil Bluff in November last year so it was great to go back. Life at Fossil bluff is extremely relaxed while also being tied to hourly Met observations that get passed back to Rothera for the forecasters and pilots to work out what is going on. The first 24hrs this year was very social. Myself and Tom had gone in to relieve Al and Saz on a plane with two pilots and two other Field assistants. We ended up staying at the hut together for a night before the plane could fly on to Sky Blu. This was perfect for Tom and I as it gave time for Al and Saz to give us a good handover.
Tom, Julie, Steve, Saz and Al chilling on the Balcony when we first arrived. A heated game of Uno on the first night.Tom heading up the ridge from the hut. Tom was with me for the first week and as there were no planes we got out and about in the local travel area quite a bit. Tom works as a Base General Assistant (probably one of the most applied for jobs with BAS) who run fossil bluff after its been opened up. These guys get to spend about a third of their summer in the hut but I think this more than paid for by the work they do sorting all the rubbish and recycling on base!Tom and I’s Saturday night – Pizza and Whisky! The hut has a couple of primus stoves as well as a “Reflex Stove” which means you can make some pretty amazing food.Sun setting over the hut. As many will know I go thought phases of sleep walking quite a bit. I found myself on the balcony at 4am one morning but it was worth it for this sunrise.Olly the new pilot coming in from the North End of the Runway.With a name like Fossil Bluff its no surprise that there is Fossils everywhere. Last year there was too much snow around to find much but this year Tom and I found quite a few on a wonder to Bellamite ValleyThe hut from North with one of the weather stations out the front.Tom staring out across King George Sound. The skiway is below this outcrop (the Sphinx) by about 1500 ft. One of our many wanders in the hills behind the hut.Looking out (North) from the highest peak in the area “Pearce Dome”After Tom left I was joined by another Base GA Joe who brought some colder weather with him. Above – me very happy (and possibly slightly caffeinated) in my down bag watching a movie (probably Harry Potter!) Joe and I didnt have a huge amount to do so spent a lot of time messing around and doing some filming. Above – Joe and I sat in the old Muskeg tractor in the Garage behind the hut.The old Muskeg – its truly amazing that they ever got anywhere in these. Maybe in 60 years Piston Bullies will look as dated.Olly came to take me home. Fossil Bluff to Rothera is definitely one of my favourite flights and this one was great as Olly coached me all the way into the final approach to Rothera.Just after Olly took back over – The Rothera runway straight ahead.
I have a fair bit of film and timelapse from Fossil Bluff which will no doubt appear at some point though for now I am packing for my field season. Back to West Antarctica and Marie Byrd Land for some rock collecting – cant wait!