SkunkedDecember 10, 2012
Fri 12/07: Called my son Jeff and talked to my grandsons Jack and Jude. Wished Jack a happy birthday.
Sat 12/08: Warm and no wind, so ran 8 laps (9 miles) on the runway. Neil Malcolm hurt his back skiing over the cornice coming out of Stork Bowl. He had to be taken back to the station via Snowcat, then airlifted to Punta Arenas on the Dash-7.
Sun 12/09: Stretching video on the Old Bransfield porch with about 6 others. Roger and Sharon Duggan returned from the field this evening, so Roger will go back to being my field assistant for the Cape Disappointment trip. Forecast for tomorrow is for good weather over the Larsen B region. Early morning AMIGOS-3 and AMIGOS-4 images showed lots of fog over Flask Glacier and Scar Inlet, but then later images showed clearing.
Mon 12/10: Both AMIGOS-3 and AMIGOS-4 showed clear skies in their respective 6 am images, which, together with a favorable forecast, meant we were flying. Pilot Doug Pearson and field assistant Ian Hey took off at 8:50 to take Daniel and Ash to their Scar Inlet GPS site. We followed them at 9:00 with pilot Al Howland, Roger, Jim, Phil and me. As we got over the divide, we could see low clouds over the Larsen C ice shelf, and at 9:40, Al told us that Doug and Ian had turned around. Our target was a few hundred feet above the ice shelf, so we kept going. As we crossed Leppard Glacier at about 10:00, we could see that the location of LPRD cGPS was very close to the edge of the clouds. As we approached Cape Disappointment, we could see that the clouds were thickening appreciably. We made three passes over the cape, and with each pass there were fewer breaks in the clouds, so Al abandoned the search for a safe landing site at about 10:45 and we headed back to Leppard Glacier. As we crossed Flask Glacier, I could see that the AMIGOS3 view of Bildad Peak would be completely fogged out, when it had been completely clear just a few hours before. By the time we got to Leppard at 11:05, it was worse than Cape Disappointment. We didn’t even circle, we just headed back to Rothera. As a consolation, Al went a bit west of the shortest route back which took us through The Gullet. It’s a narrow channel between Adelaide Island and the mainland that is used for ship passage when the sea ice conditions are favorable (they aren’t at the moment). We flew through the Gullet below the level of the peaks that line the sides. Quite a spectacular ride. Got back at 12:20, just in time for lunch, copied some photos, wrote this report, and then got to take a boat cruise in the evening. We’re still on the list for another possible attempt on Cape Disappointment, but the forecast for tomorrow is poor.