The January 20th was a busy day. In addition to our fuel tanker being in town, a cruise ship pulled into town.
The Kapitan Khlebnilov is a Russian Ship that has been leased by a Canadian firm, and provides cruises to Antarctica. Other than some of the crew, few of the people on board are Russian.
The National Science Foundation tries to discourage tourists at the US Bases, they are concerned about diverting resources from the research. They don't allow the cruise ships to dock at the ice pier (the tanker was there anyway).
Kapitan Khlebnilov travels with two helicopters, and that is how they elected to move the 150 passengers into the station. They landed on the beach about 9:30 in the Morning.
My Work Center is located across the road from the Helicopter Pad. In order to keep the Russians out of the way of the other Helicopter operations, they landed them on the unused roadway below, right at the ice edge. That made it convenient for me, the landing spot was about 100 yards from our front door. I was able to take this photo from the front door our shop. I guess you could say the Russians landed on the beach, such as it is...
NSF Recruits volunteers to do short tours around the station, and of the Discovery Hut. They give them a tour of Building 155 in the center of town, and open the store for them to buy those antarctic T-shirts, and other goodies.
Several of them do the hike up Ob Hill. Several of us 'locals' commented that it reminds us of ants climbing the hill.
After touring the US station in the morning, they visit the Kiwi base in the afternoon. By late that evening, the Kapitan Khlebnilov had left to go see the other sights of Antarctica.
The tanker was due out the following day, but high winds prevented it from leaving. That wind cost the program another $55,000 for the lost day. Ships don't come cheap. The Tanker does not have the ability to propell itself backwards so it must be towed away from the pier. The Coast Guard tows the tanker back into the turning basin, where it then can propell itself back out to the open water.
The zodiak is used to pull the tow line from the ice breaker to the tanker.
The tow line is huge but you can't see it from this distance. The operation took about an hour and half.
It had been an interesting week, I was looking to a quiet day off.
Page Twentyone - Round trip to the pole. Start Page