20 November, 2003
Preparing for the Field
While I was off having a marvelous time at happy camper school, the rest of my team was busy taking a much shorter refresher safety class, setting up the lab, and making initial preparations for our first trip out to the Dry Valleys. Needless to say, I felt a little guilty not being there to help them from the very beginning.
A lot of work goes on before heading out to any field site. This is especially true in such an extreme environment as Antarctica. We must gather radios, plan meals, collect enough food to feed the entire team, check out issued camping and field gear, ensure the science equipment is properly packed, and test out equipment and supplies to make sure they work. Failing to pack something can be detrimental to the project or to the safety of the crew.
Since we will be traveling to Lake Fryxell by helicopter, we have to be especially cognizant of weight restrictions and limitations. We are taking a large amount of cargo that must be carried via a sling load dangling from the plane. Every item (including ourselves) must be weighed carefully to determine the exact weight.
Like all Antarctic flights our trip is weather dependent. We hope to leave Saturday for our week in the Dry Valleys, but could be delayed due to weather, All our preparations, however, must be complete by tomorrow as there is a slight chance we could be given the word that we are flying out tomorrow evening.
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