Marianne Mader, Systematic Team, Jan. 16, 2012 Otway Camp, Beardmore Region, Antarctica
We’re now at the Otway campsite, our final Antarctic home in the field and location of the ‘landing strip’ (i.e., flat snow surface) for the C-130 Hercules plane. It took us three attempts, but we finally managed to leave the Larkman campsite yesterday! We had originally planned to go to a third field site, near Cecily-Raymond Nunataks, however, we were turned back by weather and a medical situation. We’re happy to say that Shaun Norman, who was flown out of camp on a twin otter three days ago, is doing well and is in good health.
Overall, the moraines and blue ice near the Larkman Nunatak proved fruitful – we’re confident in the thoroughness of our meteorite collection and the site is now considered complete – no future ANSMET teams will visit this site again! Our meteorite hunting work for the 2012-13 season is officially over and we’re now waiting for flights back to McMurdo. We’ll need two C-130 flights to get us, our 329 meteorites, and all our gear back there. Yesterday, we took down our entire camp in record time (only three hours) and then, with two sleds trailing behind each snowmobile, we drove 34 miles to Otway – again in record time – only four hours! We had smooth snow all the way (see photo of some of our packed gear with Larkman Nunatak in the background). Our new camp was set-up by 6pm.
Today we packed up all our gear that is not essential for daily life onto cargo pallets. We also heard great news from McMurdo – our first flight is scheduled for tomorrow (Jan 17) evening! Four of us – Tom, Stan, Mini, and I – will leave with half our gear on that flight (provided the weather cooperates)! Jim, Andrew, and Rob will leave on the second flight, which is yet to be scheduled. Fingers crossed – hopefully our next blog post will be from McMurdo!!