Antarctica
Double Day
Two Mountains


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The season was winding down, they had removed a couple of the repeaters while I was gone to the South Pole. I always find the flying out to the Mountain Tops and working on the repeaters the more challenging and the fun part of the job. I had made a point of asking to do the pull out for the Three Sisters Flight Following Repeater. That was one of the few sites I'd not been to. My Bosses Boss, had been to the ice for several years, but he too had not been to Three Sisters, and was scheduled to go with me. This was the last time Mitch planned to be on the ice, so he wanted to get to as many sites as possible.

That's Mitch with his hero shot on Three Sisters.

Mitch

Three Sisters is actually three similar cinder cones on the side of Mount Erebus, the Volcano that is the center of Ross Island our home here in Antarctica. There is a Sisemic experiment on the lower cone, and our repeater is in the middle cone. It sits at about 6,500 feet above sea level. There is no helicopter landing spot at the repeater, so we land between the lower two cones, and hike up to the repeater. It's about 250' in elevation and about a quarter mile from the helispot.

Helispot

The repeater boxes each weigh 180 pounds. That is a little heavy to drag up and down a rather treacherous hill, so we have to do a helicopter short haul to move the repeater. Mitch and I carried the repeater away from the tower out to a rock out cropping, and rig it to hang from a cable on the helicopter. So far I love my digital camera with only one exception, when you first start to take a photo it takes a second to actually get the photo. Mitch was going to get my glory shot as I hooked the cable to the helicopter, but it didn't turn out quite so glorious. That's me climbing out from under the helicopter as he lifts the repeater. I'm not really running just stepping quickly away.

Short Haul

Short Haul

When we had arrived at the helicopter pad in the morning there was discussion about trying to get the other repeaters that were still in the field. They had a light helicopter schedule for the day, and wanted to get as much done as early as possible. After getting the first repeater we determined that we could fit two boxes in the AStar. Normally they use the larger helicopter when moving two repeaters from one site. So this ment we could pull the repeaters from Mount Coates in the Dry Valleys.

We offloaded the repeater we had, and fueled, and we were back off. It's only about 15 minutes from Three Sisters to Town, but it's about 45 minutes to Mount Coates. The scenery is a little more spectacular along the way.

Helicopter View

Helicopter View

Helicopter View

Helicopter ViewThat is glacial ice in the bottom of the valley.

Once we landed on Mount Coates the view isn't so bad either. This is looking down the Taylor Valley towards the ocean. Ocean View

And up the valley. From Mount Coates

Had to get a hero shot for the day. Hero Shot

Or two... Hero Shot

The views along the way out weren't so bad either. Taylor Valley

On the way back we even saw some whales along the ice edge. I only had a few shots left on my disk for the camera so I missed out on some good shots. Oh well, It's a harsh continent. Ice Edge

Ice Edge

This is actually two whales passing each other in opposite directions. Ice Edge

The down side to the delay of the camera, I never got a shot of the head out of the water.Ice Edge

All and all a pretty good day. We got back just in time to get to lunch before the galley closed at 1. Not bad for a mornings work.

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