Monday, Jan. 7 Tom Sharp, Systematic Search Team G-058
We are nearly done with our tasks and Larkman Nunatak and it is time to clean up before we depart for our next camp at Cecily-Raymond Nunatak. We have completed the systematic search of all the blue ice in the area and we have searched nearly all of the moraines. Whenever we find a meteorite, we mark it’s location with either a flag. These flags stay up until we confirm the GPS locations of all the finds. Now it is time to clean up the flags. We spent the morning pulling flags from the moraine and along the way we found several new meteorites. The weather was cold, at -20 C, with a modest wind of about 10-12 knots. It seems to be getting colder. At around noon, the wind kicked up to 20 knots and the snow began to drift. Working conditions became harsh and the visibility quickly dropped. It was time to head back to camp. Once there, Jim made the call that we were done for the day due to the weather.
The G-058 team has been very lucky this year with regard to bad weather and tent days. We have only had three full tent days and two half days. Tent days are generally blizzard or wind-storm conditions where the visibility is too low for safe travel and effective searching. We had all heard the stories of being stuck in the tent for days on end and getting quite bored, so we brought lots of books, games, crafts, movies and music for the dreaded tent days. In fact, the occasional tent day has been a nice break from the hard outdoor work of meteorite hunting. For example, I have been reading, writing, drawing and playing my guitar on tent days. Today, we played games in the afternoon and Stan cooked a seafood-chowder dinner for the entire team.
Tent days provide a chance to reflect on our expedition and our life here in this very remote field camp. Sitting here, with the wind shaking the tent and drifting snow piling up all around us, one can’t help but be amazed at our life here on the ice. With the equipment, supplies and expert guiding by Shaun Norman, we are warm, safe and remarkably comfortable. The hard work outdoors, combined with our warm sleeping bags, have us all sleeping long and well. The air that we breath is the cleanest and freshest on earth. This is a stark contrast from the winter air back home in Tempe. The water that we drink, which comes from melting glacial ice that is between ten and hundreds of thousands of years old, is the purest on earth. There are no germs here other than those that we brought with us. No one has been sick and no one is likely to get sick because we are not being exposed to any new germs. There is no Internet, no email, no Facebook, no news and no fiscal cliffs to worry about. We live in the moment, only concerned with our mission of finding and collecting meteorites and staying safe and warm in one of the most remote field sites on earth. Sitting out a storm in my tent, I am so grateful to be on the ANSMET Team, living so well in this breath-takingly beautiful wilderness.