Final furlong

March 11th, 2007

What’s happened since I last wrote? Folk Night – the traditional blend of talent and silliness that forms a kind of end-of-season revue – and the departure of two of the Twin Otters for their winter maintenance in Calgary. We also said farewell to one of pilots, David Leatherdale, who’s retiring after a long period of service with BAS. We said farewell to David in giant orange letters laid out on the apron as he flew past!

We also had a brief visit from Malcolm Wicks, who’s Minister for Science and MP for North Croydon. He came, looked around, gave a *lot* of media interviews over the phone and then went again. He did host quite an interesting Q&A on the value of Antarctic science, although it degenerated into a set of harsh questions and defensive answers on why the previous day his department had announced cuts in the Research Council’s budgets despite these being supposedly “ring-fenced”…

Anyway, we had a final week of flying, mostly in support of the MASIN airborne meterological study, and as part of this I got a morning’s co-pilot down to Fossil Bluff and back. It was mostly clear down King George Sound and I managed to get some nice photos of the ice formations and mountains – Alexander Island and its immediate environs certainly count as one of the finest sights I’ve seen.

crevasse field

Extensive crevassing in King George Sound

Not long after this we had a barbecue over at the Hangar to say farewell to the Air Unit, which somehow became blended with a volleyball tournament! I’m pleased to inform you that the Comms Team (consisting of myself, Crispin, Chris and Mark) made it all the way to the final only to be beaten by Morrison Construction!
The following morning the remaining two Twin Otters departed, followed by the Dash the following day, although the latter made one more trip to bring us the last air mail from Stanley and finally left for good on Wednesday, doing the by-now-traditional flypast of the Ops Tower (“Negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full…)

D7 flypast

Dash-7 flypast

One of the other things about leaving is that you suddenly realise that there are things you meant to do that you never quite got around to. So yesterday I went out with Roger and Alistair and went to explore the crevasse up near Reptile Ridge. It’s quite a strange experience – much more like caving than I was expecting – with chambers interconnected by small slippery passages and occasional shafts of diffuse light coming down through the snow bridges overhead. at one stage we heard a skidoo drive past overhead, which really brings it home to you how important it is to stay inside the safety of the flag lines.

crevasse entrance

roger in crevasse

Inside the crevasse

Next Sunday the Ernest Shackleton will be here and it will soon be over, bar the journey home. I should be back in the UK on or around June 5th, at Portland in Dorset, although this is still subject to change.

4 Responses to “Final furlong”

  1. elvum Says:

    Do-de-doo doo. Do-de-do-do-doo. De-do-dee-doo. De-do-de-do-doo. Doo do-de-doo do-de-doo do-de-do-do-do-de-dooooooooooo.

  2. susannah Says:

    is that meant to be the last post? I can’t make the last post fit it, but I can’t make anything else fit it either and it’s really bugging me!

    And, Hi Michael!

    (btw, I don’t seem to be able to post as an LJ user)

  3. Michael P-J Says:

    I reckon it’s “The Final Countdown” by Europe…

  4. Michael P-J Says:

    susannah, elvum: has it worked for you before? I haven’t changed anything recently…

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