3 June 2010

Luckily NEEM is not a travel agency

The information screen of NEEM camp
The information screen of NEEM camp. Top left is weather: Temperature, wind speed, wind direction and wind chill. Bottom left is date, time and some news from the world outside. Top right is the status of the drill. Right now the drill is on the surface, however when the drill is ascending or descending it gives the time of arrival either at the bottom of the hole or at the surface. Bottom right: Information for camp personnel.

This season we have been unfortunate with weather. This flight period is no exception. Weather was beautiful until the 109th flew to Greenland and in the past two days we have had overcast, snow and strong winds.

We are working again and again on the skiway to keep the snow drifts off. Weather
today was really marginal to have flights, but both we and the 109th have a tight schedule (NEEM has 19 people to leave and 17 to arrive) so we decided to call in a plane. All morning weather had been bad but do-able; but as soon as the plane was airborne, weather decided to close in. It began to snow a lot, and the wind picked up, blowing snow around. The 2.5 hours flight time from Kangerlussuaq to here was a nail biting experience.
Then a small miracle happened, just when the plane was 15 minutes out, weather cleared up. There was a hole of blue sky right above camp and the plane made ready to land. It takes about 10 minutes for the plane to line up to the skiway and land. In those 10 minutes murky clouds came rolling in from the west - would they make it before the snow stopped the show?
Suddenly the VHF radio sprang to life: "NEEM camp, Skier 42, We have technical issues and we need to return to Sonde" (Sonde is the radio term for Sondre Stromfjord or Kangerlussuaq). A lot of people in camp were sunk. They were all packed up and ready to go.

15 minutes after the plane had left, the snow squall hit us and visibility was reduced to 300 m. Words were uttered that are not fit for publication on this home page. Our friends on board the plane had to spend some long hours going back as the crew had to turn off one of the four engines.

What we have done today:
1. Drilling and logging.
2. Processing brittle ice cores. Processed 25 bags, from 2276 to 2300.
3. Rush grooming skiway with tiller.
4. 19 people out of 35 packed and made ready to leave NEEM. NEEM prepared for
    receiving 17 people.
5. Measuring CFA. Today we measured 18.7 m. Last bag 2695, 1482.25 m.

Drillers depth: 1924.44 m. Logging depth: 1935 m.

Weather: Overcast. -15°C to -8°C, 10-23 knots from S and SW. Visibility: 3 mile to ¼ mile. Snow showers and blowing snow.

FL, J.P. Steffensen


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