Monday, October 15, 2007

Unexpected company

Sometimes you have unexpected visitors crashing your last 2 day weekend off.

We had a window of decent weather and the Kenn Borek aircraft, the Basler and a Twin Otter, were positioned at Rothera station waiting to pounce. We were all set to enjoy our last 2 day weekend of rest and relaxation before the craziness of summer hits, but learned on Saturday that if the weather held up, the planes would make the journey south on Sunday.

I got up early on Sunday and found out that the planes were fueled and ready to take off at the British station. They departed a little after 8am Pole time and I assumed my part time job of doing flight comms and tracked their progress as they inched degree by degree closer to 90 south.

At around 3:20pm the Basler touched snow. I can't tell you how weird it is to finally see something like a plane after being down here for 8 months without any. We're amateurs when it comes to flight ops and the Basler got parked just a little too far away from the fuel pit but with some earnest stretching of the hose, they were able to get the fuel all the way to the tanks.

The Kenn Borek guys have been doing this for a while and they know what's important to bunch of scrappy Polies who have just spent a winter cooped up.

Sean the pilot gave Andy our manager a bottle of Pisco from Chile. Hopefully Andy will share.

But more importantly they brought:

FRESHIES! This is the first fruit we've had since the last dregs of our end of summer stash fermented and got squishy and moldy around April. Those Basler guys really made our day and hopefully those who overindulged on the fresh ambrosia won't be paying for it today.

The Basler refueled and took off again after a short half hour. They flew all the way to McMurdo station despite a change in weather over there resulting in some nasty conditions.
And our last visitor the Twin Otter KBG arrived around 5:30pm. The 3 member crew stayed with us overnight so our population increased to 57 souls. Since it was a day off, the cooks weren't making any dinner and everyone was foraging through the leftover fridge. Not very hospitable on our part, but we did save them some homemade calzones from Saturday night and they seemed happy with that instead of old leftover Mexican food from the back of the fridge.

The weather today in McMurdo is crap so the KBG crew is staying with us another day. If conditions are good tomorrow, the Basler will make a return trip to Pole bringing in the first of the summer crew and soon we'll have to learn all over again how to behave in public.


At 1:57 PM, Blogger skua76 said...


Need I say more? Happy summer!

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous norma barnett said...

Heidi...Brien's mom...did he leave the South Pole on that plane?

At 4:32 AM, Anonymous npjane said...

Dear Heidi, I am new to your blog but am enjoying the adventures you are having and wishing it was me. I am a close to retirement FNP in the Katrina recovering state of Mississippi where in fall it is still warm, 78 degrees today with sunshine and light breezes. When you leave the frozen South, I would like to invite you to come by and visit us here in Laurel, Ms. only 1 hour from the Ms. coast beach and casinos and 1.5 hours from New Orleans. Jane Johnson,FNP

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Heidi said...

Hi Mrs. Barnett - Brien didn't go on that plane but will leave on the Basler when it comes back. We just found out a few minutes ago that they're NOT going to fly in today, but will try to come in tomorrow Oct 17 as originally planned. He's excited about his first Basler ride and will be shooting some video footage on the way.

Thanks for the well wishes Bill!

And thanks for the kind invite, Jane. Sounds wonderful there in Laurel at the moment - I'll look you up next time I make it to the Gulf Coast area. I love New Orleans!

At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Norma Barnett said...

Heidi, Brien's mom again. I have very much enjoyed your blog and will continue reading from time to time. You share information in an easy readable way. I learned "stuff"! I hope you keep it up. Sorry we never got to meet you and I know Brien was crushed in the process but we believe and pray for him all of the time. We know he has learned valuable lessons and he has many good things to look forward to, contribute to, places, experiences and people to meet. We wish you the very best in your wanderings! Thanks for being his friend.

At 9:54 AM, Blogger ethan said...

Hey, Neal... I got to Chch yesterday, and I'll see you when I climb off a Basler flight next week. Who's leaving this week besides Brien?


At 9:57 AM, Blogger ethan said...

Heidi... whoops! All these blog comment pages look alike (unlike you and Neal who look *nothing* alike ;-)

Sorry about the mixup, but I'll still see you next week.



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