Return to Mawson's Hut...one hundred years on
We’ve had an exhilarating couple of days and I’m just taking stock of all that has taken place. The last time I wrote was in the early hours of the 19th making final preparations for our attempt to reach Cape Denison. During the previous day, we had arrived in Commonwealth Bay and secured the Shokalskiy against the sea ice edge, some 65 kilometres from our goal. Over the next 12 hours, two reconnaissance trips were made using an eclectic choice of transport: quad bikes, all terrain vehicles and skis. The plan was to find a route over the ice towards Cape Denison while the science team continued their work around the ship. Unfortunately both recce teams returned with tales of a chaotically jumbled surface. The wheeled vehicles struggled in the ice and the prospect of finding a route through to Cape Denison did not look good. But one of the real finds of this expedition has been the ATVs we call Argos. Looking like a tank, these eight-wheeled boats on wheels are the ultimate craft for these parts – ideal for crossing sea ice with the ever present risk of breaking through to the ocean below. The ATVs are good on tyres, but on caterpillar tracks they’re fantastic. Fortunately we have one Argo on tracks. Nothing seems to get in its way.
|We've made it! Chris and I outside Mawson's Huts|
|Ben unloading one of the quad bikes|
|Approaching Cape Denison on our All Terrain Vehicles, the Argos|
|Sampling the blue ice above Cape Denison with Chris and Eleanor|
|Pyramids in the ice. The view at 2 am|