First Modules Placed on the Wooden Structure - Copyright: International Polar Foundation - © International Polar Foundation

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Live from Antarctica: High Winds in Antarctica

High winds arose over the ridge on Thursday afternoon, making work with the Arcomet crane very hazardous, as several hundred kilos of wood and metal began to sway uncontrollably overhead. Keen to meet the target of having the first external module up for the end of the week, the team worked on using the little red Fassi, until it became impossible to proceed. (This strange apparition is a solid little seven tonne Fassi crane arm mounted onto a bulky caterpillar tracked Mooroka body, also seven tonnes. It is small, versatile, and has an appealing character. It will be difficult to part with when the works are over).

The wind continued into the night, whistling and squealing, making the tents shudder and flap furiously and torturing the solitary wind turbine which turned faster and faster, as if to escape.

Finally, the station work crew decided to break off "early" around 19h30 and come back to camp to warm up. The mood was a little morose, but not totally down. Gluhwein on the stove helped buoy up the ambiance. The self-imposed target was still within grasp.

This morning, the wind had died down a little but not enough to allow the crane to be deployed.

A few grim faced members of the crew sat out the bad weather in the mess tent, as we quickly took advantage of the lull to commandeer the Komatsu digger and driver (Julien) and re-do the paths around the camp which had become rock hard and icy. René Robert wanted to demonstrate some good old Chamoniard techniques for snow "engineering" but some uncouth person lacking in civic mindedness kept walking over the immaculate surface he had created leading to the mess tent.

After lunch, the wind has dropped and everyone is back up on the ridge. The last section of the hangar wall is up, and the East face arcs are all up.

The Prinoth 1 is still dow. Olivier and Frank have dismantled the hydraulic system and pump, but to no avail. We cannot find where the loss of pressure in the system originates from.

We received a call from Ken Pedersen of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition over at Troll station. Maybe we can set up an instant Prinoth Help Desk hot-line to our neighbours. Vikings to the rescue? Something is a bit odd there. What happened to a bit of good old marauding?

Author: IPF

Picture: First Modules Placed on the Wooden Structure - Copyright: International Polar Foundation - © International Polar Foundation

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