Thursday, 3 April 2014

Weather days

27th March- Marc and Petter arrived late last night in the Kenn Borek Twin Otter with all of the camping equipment and supplies. After a late supper we sat down and went through our plans for the ice camps, and they briefed us on some of the practicalities of the camp itself. It all sounds pretty promising: a heated mess tent, a workshop tent for storing some equipment and 4 two-man sleeping tents which aren’t heated but we have some pretty serious sleeping bag arrangements.

By the time we left the bar the wind had got up and on the walk back to our accommodation we were treated to a pretty serious snow-blasting. Unfortunately this was a sign of the bad weather to come. This morning it has been completely overcast and snowing a bit – the pilots can’t fly in these conditions so we’re stuck on base until it clears. We should have another update from colleagues with satellite imagery of the area this evening but there are no truly reliable forecasts for this area.

So another day of delay. Let’s hope it clears up by tomorrow… Here's Christian looking a little windswept:

28th March- The weather cleared up a little overnight and this morning but it’s deteriorated again – we just attempted to walk down to the sea ice in the local fjord but the wind picked up again and we turned back.

An interesting side story has been developing whilst we’ve been here though. One of the Danish Army dog sledding teams – there are six teams that patrol Greenland to maintain Danish sovereignty (“keep out the ugly Norwegians” as one of the base staff put it) – are having a bit of trouble. They’re less than 40km from Station Nord but they have run out of fuel and are on half rations. There is so much powdery snow, and no pre-made tracks, so the dogs can only get them about 5km per day and are getting very tired. Obviously these guys are incredibly well prepared and well trained, but it’s still a very difficult situation for them. The first night we were here they went out on skidoos to try to mark out a track for the dogs to use – two of the three skidoos broke down and one is still stuck 33km from the base. They are making contingency with our pilots to make a barrel drop of food and fuel to keep them going a bit longer, but so far the weather has prevented this.

Anyway, it’s fairly disheartening to be stuck here. The base is great – the staff are brilliant and it’s very comfortable – but that’s not why we’re here! Rachel and I put in a huge effort to get us here and to think we might not be able to get all the data we want is pretty frustrating.

But here's an obligatory frosty beard shot to lighten the mood ;)

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