Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Melt Tank Cleaning

Petra Looking exhausted.

Jamie hoovering up the rest of the slime.

Almost Clean
Originally uploaded by Snow_girl.

With the summer building (Drewry) warm and ready for the summer it's time for our anual meltank clean.

The Meltank is a big metal cylinder 30m below the snow surface where all of our water is kept. We fill it daily with snow (which then melts- hence the name). My guesstimate is that the meltank is 2m in diameter and 3m tall (but I'm not good at guessing that sort of thing)... if it were only half full and there were some seats it would make a really good hot tub for 12 or so people.

Jamie is the plumber (who'll be leaving us shortly) and it's his job. Simon, Petra and I volunteered to help clean it... I honestly had no idea there would be so much sludge at the bottom, on the walls and in all the nooks and cranies. But I can happily say that it's much cleaner now.

Jim's been at this job for a few days now. Two days of pumping water out and transporting it to the Drewry meltank, a morning of cleaning, and then spent a long afternoon/eveing/night transporting the water from the Drewry back into our meltank. This is a job and a half, and I won't know the progress till I go to lunch.

See you can't just fill it with snow and expect it to melt (you would have thought). That would take much too long... you need to add snow to very warm water to melt it, and as you add more snow it lowers the temperature of the water, so it has to be a very slow process. The problem here is that we need the water so it can be pumped into the day tank on the main platform (it's all a big balancing act). I can't wait to have a shower again!!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

End of the Winter

The winter is almost over, and the summer is very nearly here .... and I'm excited.

Site work is happening almost every day now. Last week I gave a hand in clearing snow from on, in and around the sledges, moved the container line forward (much easier in the light and with a skidoo handy) and moving some computers from their store on the warm CASLab to the Drewry (summer accommodation).

Jamie, the plumber's spent the last week or more getting the Drewry building warm, plumbed in and lit for the coming summer season. The last couple of days he's being doing a teadiously boring job of moving water from our melt tank to theirs to fill it up, and so we do our anual melt-tank clean. So that'll be fun!!!

The Helium Move.

We've also got a lot of work going on at the Simpson (the Met Platform). We're trying to get the platform tidy and sorted before the influx of new equipment and spares comes in at Christmas. We're also trying to pack and get rid of everything we can to send off on the ship on first call. This includes MAWSON, the old weather station system. So come the end of November I'll turn it off, then take all the equipment off the mast and Stevenson screen and bring it all in and pack it all away (along with all it's spares). I will be very happy when that's all done. We've spent the last year running two systems at once (to check the new one's working and all the data are ok), and though Milos has had it's hiccups it's been a pretty smooth change-over. Which brings me to thinking about the other change-over operations I've got going over the summer. The main one is the Dobson Spectrophotometer (which measures the ozone level). I think that will be a hectic week checking that the new and improved one hasn't been damaged during the voyage south, and giving similar readings to the old one. We've also got a software change on the weather balloon pc, which will hopefully go smoothly.

So, the place is busy. The first BAS plane is due in less than a week (along with post and fresh food). Like I said, all very exciting.