The week after New Year's was good. It took a little bit to get used to the 6 day work week, after having two - two day weekends. But, we survived. Saturday Night was the Helo Party. Some of the local bands put on an excellent show, and as usual a good time was had by most.
Sunday was a rather quiet day. After two weeks of working in the bay, and clearing the channel, the Coast Guard was going to pull up to the ice pier that afternoon. Something about an Ice Breaker clearing and pulling up to a pier made of ice that makes it interesting.
The ice breaker came and went several times, and the pier survived. It was ready for the Fuel tanker due in a few days.
Monday the day looked good. I was had been scheduled to return to Mount Terror for several days, but the weather had not cooperated. The radio repeater had failed and we needed to get it back on the air. Tobias who worked in the Communications Shop (where I worked last year) had volunteered to go along, and was really looking forward to the trip.
We departed about 9:30 and had a great looking day. As we ascended from town, we had a great view of Mount Erebus, and Castle Rock.
It take a little while to get to Mount Terror, we have to climb from sea level to over 10,000 feet. As we gained some altitude we got a view to the north, and could see the open water and the channel the ice breaker had been working on.
The Pilot was new to the Antarctic, but it turns out it was likely that I had flown with him back in the early 80's. He had been a Chinook driver at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs when I was first getting involved in Search and Rescue.
As we approached the site, the problem with the repeater became clear. It is the icicle in the middle of the shot.
We have to land about 200' in elevation and a 1/4 mile below the ridge.
The weather was great, but there was a cloud hanging below us on the other side of the mountain. So, we needed get the repeater back on the air before we lost the visibility and got stuck on the Mountain.
The altitude slowed things down a bit, it took about 15 minutes to get to the ridge where we were greeted with this view. The solar panels didn't produce much power when they were covered in ice.
It didn't take long to get the panels cleared off, and start to take our hero shots, and lots of scenery.
Yes it was a great day. I realized a while back that all the photos of me always had all my heavy clothing on, so I made a point to take the hat off for this shot. It was calm enough I that I didn't put it back on for a while. That is Cape Bird to the right in the background, and that is open water of the ocean along it. Mount Erebus is in the background to the right.
That cloud below us kept us concerned so it was time to get headed back to the helicopter.
Tobias was very interested in the snow cornice just below the ridge so he took a moment to try to get next to it for a photo.
Tobias and I had been commenting while we were on the ridge that it just didn't get much better than this. It was a fantasic day. Bob Zook had a page from his first year down that was titled 'Best Day Ever', and this was one for me.
The flight back gave me chance to get a shot of the Kiwi Base (New Zealand's Scott Base). Those black dots on the ice are seals.
All in all a great day. Sorry this took so long to load, but hopefully you found the photos rewarding, I know the trip was for me.
We even managed to get back in town in time for a hot lunch.
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