By Anton Bowring:
The sea ice cleared the bay overnight so that we could land the support team at 8am as usual. The crane is busy unloading full drums and re-loading the empties. Up the track towards the depot lines, work continues to prepare the living caboose and the science caboose for the Ice Group to move in. The big job is getting the padded tea cosies to fit over each caboose tightly and securely. At the same time, Jo is sorting the food and stowing the domestic stores in the lockers provided.
The big difference today, Sunday, was that Captain Dave let the cadets go ashore. They have been on board since the ship arrived five days ago. I can imagine that it must be frustrating to see the stunning landscape but not be able to investigate it. So, after lunch, all the cadets and some of the crew climbed over the bows and down the pilot ladder onto the ice shelf. They were clearly very happy to be there and wandered about, sat in the sun and kicked a deflated football rather as if they were in a park in summer. The air temperature was around +2C and the sun was shining. It felt very warm. I joined them and there were hoots of joy at being free to wander about. We all took photos and posed with flags and friends. It was a very good boost to morale and enabled everyone to let off steam.
The unloading and commissioning work is nearing completion. The Ice Group will be ready to move in to their caboose tomorrow. Final plans will be made to ensure that all essential supplies, spares and equipment are in place and that unnecessary (and, particularly, heavy) items are identified so that, if necessary, they can be reloaded on the ship. With so much to carry across Antarctica and no opportunity to dispose of anything once the ship has sailed, serious consideration must be given to the value of heavy or bulky items in the interests of weight reduction.
Tomorrow it is intended to finish the caboose fit-out in readiness for the new inhabitants. Cargo work will now be reduced and, for some, it will be time to wait and watch as the Ice Group take over the management of their new home.
Annoyingly, the sea ice entered the bay again today and, at 16.12hrs, with all hands back on board we set off out of the bay to avoid getting beset in the ice. Tomorrow the teams wil be divided for the first time. The Ice Group will live ashore and the Support Group will continue to live on the ship.