28 April 2009

Arrival in NEEM camp after winter.

An aerial shot from the cockpit of the LC-130 Hercules.

An aerial shot from the cockpit of the LC-130 Hercules. Sverrir, Trevor and Henrik on board the LC-130 bound for NEEM.

The opening of camp turned out to be a successful but cold affair. At time of landing the wind was at 10 m/s from the South. The crew decided to land North of camp, facing into the wind. After a stay of 35 min. the plane left, as communication between camp and Kangerlussuaq had been established.

Armed with showels our crew of 11 people began dig into the snow in front of the doors to our buildings and tents. It was a cold affair, but by 8 pm several vehicles were running, and the main generator provided electricity for cooking and heating of the main dome. Sarah served supper, meatballs and pasta, and the crew turned in at 10 pm.

It was a strange sight to see camp after almost a year. Everything was standing as we left it, but somehow everything looked eerily different. Even after many years working on the ice, it is still astonishing to see the amount of snow drift that can accumulate over winter. The garages, the dome tents and the main dome were built on 1.5 m snow hills last year. Now, the hills are gone and the buildings are sitting on the surface. The garages even had 2 m snow drifts around them. We have a lot of snow to move in the days ahead.

What we have done today:

  1. Arrival at NEEM for 11 people. Put-in flight was very successful.
  2. Opening main dome, garages and dome tents.
  3. Warming up and starting snow blower, Pistenbully and 16 kW generator.
  4. Inspecting all surface structures for damage. No damage found.
  5. Excavating hook up point for main generator, levelling snow surface and pulling main generator into position. Main generator was running at 7 pm.
  6. Pulled "tomato" shelters into position.
  7. Removing snow drifts from out side entrances and inside dome tents.

Ad. 1: Skier 93 took off from Kangerlussuaq at 9:20 am, and landed on the snow 1 mile North of NEEM at 11:50 am. At 12:25 the plane took off into the wind from eastern end of skiway using rocket start.

Ad. 2: We had access to the first red dome tent at 12:10, and the snowmobile parked there started straight away. The main dome was opened at 12:15. Temperature in main dome was -14°C in kitchen and -4°C on top floor.

Ad. 3: Once the garage was opened, we used the Herman Nelson heater to warm up the snow blower parked in the dome tent. Once it was out, we could clean entrances to the garages. At 1.15 pm, we started the 16 kW generator, which we used to power the stove in the main dome. The Pistenbully was running at 3.10 pm.

Ad. 7: There was some snow drift inside the dome tents due to small leakages around windows and zippers. Only tiny traces of snow were found in main dome. The main dome appears to be tight.

Weather: Scattered high clouds, -21°C, 10-20 knots from S. Visibility: 2 miles. Some drifting snow.

Field leader J.P. Steffensen

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