On 12/26, Sue called from the balmy white desert in T-shirt weather after an epic storm with 5 days of winds gusting between 60-100 mph. When the blowing snow cleared, assessment of the aircraft showed distressing additional work. The powerful winds packed ten feet of snow back around the plane, setting back a potential date for completion.
Winds swept large sheet-metal pieces away from the repair site and moved the camp outhouse 70 feet away from its usual location. The mess tent collapsed spilling jet fuel and 30 gallons of water on the floor. It was difficult keeping their tents warm during the storm because the winds often extinguished their stoves.
Improved weather allowed the digging out to resume and work to begin again on the engines. The rudder and stabilizers have been attached, so it looks more like an airplane again. Soon work on the landing gear and wheel-ski assemblies will start. The panel and instrument installations are under way.
Medical issues have been at a minimum. No one has developed major illnesses or injuries. Sue was concerned about the flying metal pieces and windblown debris causing major injuries, but none occurred.
Because of the rapid weather changes and heavy work schedule, Sue has not done much kite skiing. However, she and Lou Albershardt (chef and ice-core specialist) skied 2 km to visit a Norwegian expedition site. This was part of a television/movie project to be aired in Norway. The group of two women and four men arrived in a Twin Otter. Much to their surprise, Lou knew some of them from previous travels.
The following URL will give you a clear view of the exact location of Sue’s expedition on Holtanna Glacier. http://stephan-siegrist.ch/en/projects/antarctica.2009
I am always interested in their diet and food supply, not to worry…On Christmas Day they ate better than most of us! The menu included: lobster tail, beef back strap, cheese hors d’oeuvers and a pony keg of beer.
Til next week —a New Year greeting from Sue.