We get to travel the world, go all the way to Antarctica and make amazing discoveries. Or something like that is at least what a lot of people expect from our work.
Sorry, to disappoint but currently, science might not be so glamorous at all times.
And my arms are sore. The minute the weather improved, we were out digging. Station 15 is now upgraded and back in the field and the same goes for 18. And 18 is special! Why is 18 special? It has been longer out here than the other stations, and since snow accumulates to about one meter a year, digging that station up was a major excavation mission. We had to excavate so much that we started to hope to find dinosaurs, but that did not work out, unfortunately.
Outside, the wind is blowing (between stronger and lighter) and beautiful powdery snow is falling. I would love to have a mountain, a lift and a snowboard! As it turns out the mountains are about 40km away, most of them have never been climbed, so lifts are out of the question, and the allowed amount of luggage did not include a snowboard. So, to put it mildly, right now we are not best friends with the weather.
And here we are, sitting in our science tent again. Ironically it is sunny outside and a lot of the pictures we took look sunny and happy. What the pictures don't show, is that the wind is so strong that every hour, one of us has to go out to make sure that we will still be able to climb out of our tent. Because snow is piling up. And I mean piling up when I say this.
Three days ago, we finally made it. Boarded a helicopter with all our gear and flew over Black Island and Minna Bluff to Moore's Bay, where the ARIANNA stations have been waiting for us all year long.
The things with anything that flies in Antarctica is that it relies heavier on weather than anything else. It turns out that a helicopter needs a relatively windless day with a clear sight of the horizon in order to land on the ice. And while the weather has been good so far, the wind really does not feel like cooperating.
View from Scott's point at McMurdo station.
Yes, we got up at 5:00 in the morning for a reason. We have made it to Antartica. I am now writing this from McMurdo station on the Antarctic continent.
Here is proof:
We should have made it by now. But ... weather in Antarctica is one of the craziest things on the planet. Meaning that you are scheduled for check-in to fly at 6:30 in the morning, but might receive a call at 4:30 in the morning that the flight will not happen. So we are waiting in Christchurch. For better weather in Antarctica and also for better weather in Christchurch. The warm and beautiful spring day from yesterday -- very strange by the way when you come from the dry and fall-like Southern California -- has changed into a muddy grey with a constant drizzle.