The Depot that wasnt there – Part 2

After two days sorting kit at Rothera I was headed back to Mt Murphy.  This time with Steve (Field Assistant) and Zac (Boatman) along with a metal detector, Ground penetrating Radar(GPR), snow blower and a full camp setup to be able to spend as long as needed to raise the depot and drive it back some of the way toward Rothera.  This time we got through Sky Blu with only a day of waiting and jumped on the plane with Vicky who had Adam (boatman) as Co-pilot.931A0755Steve towing and Zac reading the GPR.931A0756Zac, Adam and Steve in the first pit.  I thought we had seen a reflection on the GPR so we started digging down looking for flags again.  We carried on GPRing and saw an even better reflection so started digging another hole.931A0758Steve turned out to have the luck of the day spotting the depot on the GPR screen and finding the first flag.  Above – sheer joy at finding the first flag.931A0762Zac in the hole checking we are going the right direction.  The end of the metal detector is about 20cm from the top of the skidoos in this photo.  The depots were buried by about 3.5 – 4m of accumulation.931A0773Down in the hole.  We excavated the three skidoos and then tunneled back to pull out the rest of the kit.  In the depot were 3 skidoos, 5 Nansen sledges (Wood), a siglin sledge (Plastic), three tents, two 44gallon drums, 24 fuel jerries, lots of science boxes, skis, clothing, food, fuel etc etc etc.  Once we started pulling things out it got more exciting though chipping away in the back of the cave was not.931A0800Hard not to enjoy yourself when this is the view.931A0822Zac had not been on base long so in the name of further training we did manage to get out and about a couple of days.  Above – Steve staring out to the cost on the Ridge above camp.
931A0863 Steve and Zac doing some further training on Mt Murphy the large peak behind camp.931A0872 Steve, Zac and I having a tough day.931A0876 The final mission was digging up the fuel bladder which was on a big plastic sledge.  We had learnt what worked and what didnt (mainly the snowblower) on the first depot so this one wasnt quite as bad though we did have to dig carefully as we got close to it to avoid any punctures.931A0879Rain on the tent.
931A1833After twelve days we packed up for our 800km drive back across West Antarctica.  This was the same drive I did in 2015 though in reverse.
931A1841 Selfie in the wing mirror931A1849The next camp – everything is depoted in a line ninety degrees to the prevailing wind.  We were lucky with weather and driving surfaces on our first day and managed to move 150km.
931A1859Zac making calzones on a lie up day.
931A1875
The team with no place to go.  This was taken on the last day when we had to stop due to poor contrast.  931A1904 After eight days we finally got to “Castle depot” on the edge of the Ellsworth mountains where we were due for pick up.  We then waited for pick up for a few days ending up being out there for a total of a month.IMG_8719Steve and Zac cooking Christmas dinner in the tent.IMG_8723The final sledge coming out of the first Depot.

This entry was posted in Antarctica, British Antarctic Survey, Climbing Antarctica, Field Assistant, Field Assistant Antarctica, Rothera, Rothera Research Station, Uncategorized.

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