Friday, November 7, 2014

Deep Field Shakedown - Happy Camper

Antarctica can be a harsh environment with its extreme cold and windy conditions. In order to complete our scientific work we need to be able to stay safe and deal with the conditions. The last training class is called "Happy Camper" - it's an overnight expedition where people get to familiarize themselves with camping in the cold as well as trying emergency equipment.
We had beautiful weather with wonderful views of the surrounding mountains.

Alasdair (our guide, wearing green) demonstrating how to pitch a Scott Tent. (It is named after the famous Antarctic explorer, Robert Falcon Scott). A Scott tent is very strong in high wind, but also quite heavy.
How to dig an emergency snow trench - if the wind is blowing and temperatures dropping, a snow trench is the best survival option. On many occasions it can be too windy to pitch a tent.

Ron Flick trying out the snow trench.

To protect our mountain tents from the wind, we build walls made of snow blocks

A successfully set camp

Robert keeps the stove going, melting snow for water (which takes a long time).

Dinner for one. When stuck in an emergency situation, gourmet cooking is not an option. These freeze-dried meals, where you just add hot water, are fast to make and contain many calories to give your body energy.

An exercise simulating a "white-out" - a storm where visibility is almost zero. What would you do if someone stepped out of a tent and got lost?

Learning to use the HF (High Frequency) Radio. These radios can communicate long distances. For the kids in Australia, this is the sort of radio used by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.