Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements
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Day 7 - May 12 2006We spent today constructing a freezer for ice cores, setting up and testing our Iridium/Internet system and training for handling a confrontation with a polar bear while waiting for the Greenland Air Twin Otter to ferry us up to Flade Isblink, about 25 miles away. We received word that the bear is expected here this evening, and we hope to begin staging cargo and passengers to Flade Isblink tomorrow. Dennis and I got the Iridium system working, but not without some adversity. Initially, not one of the 8 modem/SIMM cards connected. We suspected that the other 8 on the receiving end at KU were switched off and called home on the Iridium phone. Sure enough, they were turned off because of some construction in Nichols Hall where they were housed. Anyway, the fix was simple and now 7 of the 8 are working at the moment. The Twin Otter arrived here at 7:30 this evening, about half an hour before schedule. Even so, they had to fly low because of clouds and snow that had moved in by mid-afternoon, and they had experienced some icing on the wings. We learned from the pilot that he expects to be able to ferry all our cargo and ourselves up onto the ice dome in one day, taking one hour per round trip. This means that if the weather holds, we could be there as soon as tomorrow.
Klaus training me in the use of firearms and flares in the event we encounter a polar bear at Flade Isblink
This evening several of us spent an hour with Klaus getting trained in polar bear protection. This involved training with several types of flares and a 30-06 rifle. In principle, you fire the flares right at an approaching bear and the intense light from the burning powder is supposed to scare it off (loud noises such as rifle shots do not). The rifles are meant to be our last resort.
Claude petting the Greenland sled dogs. The rules say if you pet one, you must pet them all.
We also made friends with the camp's Greenland sled dogs (they look something like huskies but actually are more closely related to wolves). They are very happy to get attention and petting from strangers and reluctant for you to leave them, almost possessive. The rule is that if you pet one dog, you have to pet them all so they don't become jealous or feel left out. Since there were something like 10 of them, it took me a little while. My, but they have thick fur!
Various distances from Station Nord (in kilometers)
I discovered that we had been preceded to Nord by at least one prominent American the other evening. On the wall in the bar hangs a number of pictures of various past events and visitors. Two of the pictures include Al Gore. One shows him shooting a game of pool in the bar (the same table I played at) and a second is of him posing with a number of distinguished visitors (DVs) in blue Danish parkas. I was told that both the Danish Prime Minister and Danish Crown Prince had also been here fairly recently.
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