Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Update 7/13/2011

Our camp is on a peninsula of land sticking out into the Greenland Ice Sheet. Russell and Leverett glaciers are to the north and south of camp and the two rivers discharging these glaciers come together in the west. In short, ice and rivers surround us. As the melt season has progressed, the rivers have grown massive and our simple boat ferry made of climbing ropes and pulleys is no longer safe. Camp has suddenly become much more remote as access has been restricted to the weather dependent chartered helicopters.

Will Rosser, Alex Beaton, Liz Bagshaw set up
a newly designed nitrate probe on the ice.
We have a new crew in camp. Liz Bagshaw is a post doc in Jemma Wadham’s lab. A veteran of fieldwork in Antarctica, her stories include sleeping in a tent in Antarctica for months on end and having an infected wisdom tooth pulled by a Navy dentist who didn’t use anesthetic. She also met John McCain in Antartica and talked to him about what she was doing- filtering water. Ben Lishman is another post doc from the Wadham lab and is also new to our group. He’s an engineer with a quick sense of humor. While discussing on the best way to make the river crossing (a hovercraft is the group’s favorite), he claimed only two rules in life—never play cards with a man named after a city and never fly in a home-built helicopter.

Alex Beaton, after pulling a probe off 
the ice at midnight.
Will Rosser, our new undergraduate spent his first 24 hours in camp sampling the river every two hours and has already broken in his new alpine boots by jumping at every chance to hike on glacier. Alex Beaton, who got here in June, has extended his stay by two weeks in an attempt to fix a broken sensor. He’s working around the clock in a race to collect the data he’s spent a year preparing for. All and all, everyone is happy to do fieldwork and almost every night at dinner something is said which sends us into tear inducing fits of laughter. From the early season, Stuart Vinen and I are the only remnants from May and April.

Probably because of how long I’ve been here I’m suddenly somehow living in luxury. I’ve struck my small sleeping tent and moved into my large science tent. I’ve got a stove, a table, a chair, my guitar, and thanks to a care package from Dad, a cot with not one but two Therma Rests. I can make coffee before getting out of my extremely comfy bed and play guitar late into the night. If the wind didn’t regularly blow 50 mph all night and if it ever got dark, I’d probably be sleeping great!

1 comment:

  1. Anything to do with Greenland is interesting. Found your exploits on the ice cap fascinating. We visited in March and it was immense, www.mark-greenland.blogspot.co.uk