8 December, 2001
Dec 8th- A Very Late Night
Two days ago four of our teammates went out to do the last seismic station install from McMurdo. Check out this crazy story:
The team members on this trip were Maggie, Doug, Rigo and Luo. Their scheduled time of departure was 7:00pm (Remember, we have 24 hours of daylight here). Due to delays, they did not take off until 9:45 pm. The site they were going to was Cape Selbourne, our farthest south site with a helicopter (80 degrees latitude).
When a helicopter makes a long trip, it needs to be refueled at some point. The aircraft was in the air for 21/2 hours when a refueling became necessary. The pilot had the coordinates of a fuel cache (a supply of fuel). The helo landed, but the group could not find the cache. They did not have enough fuel to go much further, so the situation was not looking very good. The possibility of a Twin Otter having to come for them was becoming a reality.
Two hours later, the pilot received a new set of coordinates for the fuel cache. Maggie and Doug set out to look for it. They took the GPS (global positioning system) with them to find the exact coordinates. At 2:00am, after over a mile hike uphill, Maggie saw flags in the distance. They had found the fuel! They called the pilot on the radio, and he and the rest of the team flew to meet them.
If that was not enough, they now had to dig out the snow covered fuel drums! They had three shovels, so they took turns. By 3:00am the helo was refueled and they were on their way to Cape Selbourne. The installation of the seismic station took a record two hours and fifteen minutes to complete. (They really wanted to get home!) They were back on the helo by 5:15 am and home at 7:00am in time for breakfast. Fortunately the temperature was 20 degrees F with very little wind during the whole trip. They were definitely tired, but at least they were not cold!
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