Today Russell, Jake (the newest addition to our team who has arrived to assist with the packing of our equipment and securing the E-Base for the winter), and I went to the morning services at the nearby Russian Orthodox Church that overlooks Bellingshausen Station. Built after the breakup of the USSR, this rustic building was constructed of Sitka pine logs in Siberia, which were then taken apart, shipped thousands of miles down to Bellingshausen, and reassembled, on a rocky spine above both the Chilean and Russian research stations. Scrambling across the mud, sand, and rocks to hike up to the church, it’s something of a Calvary just to reach the door. Read more
All entries under Diary
To all of the wonderful people who have been sending the E-Base team messages,
Thank you for all of your support and well-wishes. You have encouraged us to stay inspired when things were not always as rosy as we would have liked, and you still remind us on a daily basis just how many people believe in what we are trying to do.
For all of the friends and supporters of the Inspire Antarctic Expedition team members who are avidly following the story as the team is on their way to join us, thank you for your messages and know that the 2008 IAE Expedition site is up and running: http://expedition.2041.com. You can watch your friends and family as they travel through Antarctica and leave comments on their posts on that site.
All the best from the EBGL team here in Bellingshausen and please continue to follow the adventure!
We have been at the E-Base now for over 14 days and our spirits are still high, despite what some may consider fairly testing conditions.
To say that we have become a truly formidable team doesn’t begin to describe our camaraderie, with a simple understanding that we could not have accomplished any task, large or small, as individuals, but that through teamwork we could conquer any obstacle.
It was quite touching to receive the following message on our Message Wall yesterday from an outside perspective, a gentleman who crossed our path here in Bellingshausen last week, when we first arrived.
Ajay, thank you for highlighting the conditions of our endeavor. Your words were received with great humility and both comforted and inspired our small team.
Well what a day. Today was my first attempt of installing solar thermal panels and I know you’re all asking, “Did it go well?”. Let me tell you it went spot on.
Having only ever seen a solar thermal panel attached to my colleague Pete Forest’s roof back in the UK, during a show-around to see how it all works, let’s just say I was not fully confident when the time came that I could successfully install not one, but two panels!
The beauty of this solar thermal technology is that it’s simple. A basic knowledge of plumbing and some hard work, and anyone out there can install solar thermal panels. With the added benefit of my right hand man Benjamin Contreras, one of 2041’s Antarctic contacts, the job seemed to go very easily.
Once the frames were built, the individual solar tubes fit straight into the manifold. I then attached a pump and a few sensors to form a fully working solar thermal system.
The greatest part of the day came once the system was up and running. As we pumped the first bit of water through, we could immediately feel a rise in temperature in the water, and in this very beautiful, sunny, warm and humid weather (HA!), it was a good thing, as I needed a shower.
As an American, the old adage from the Great Depression of the 1930’s, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” takes on a certain resonance here in the Antarctic.
At the E-Base and E-Home, everything that can be recycled is recycled, and not in the sense of putting down your second cup of coffee, lightheartedly separating milk cartons from newspapers, leaning out the back door, and tossing them in their respective recycling bins, but recycling in the sense of pulling on rubber boots, bundling up in cold-weather clothing and wandering around Bellingshausen scouring trash, scrap wood, packing materials, etc, and looking at everything with a gimlet eye to determine what can be reused or turned into something useful. There are no handy hardware or camping supply stores in the Antarctic, and if you need something, you have to be creative.
Plastic loading pallets left from a resupply ship to one of the international research stations in the area form the floor of the E-Home, and a rusting pile of decades old angle-iron and steel cable become, with the help of a hacksaw and some physical effort, a full set of tent stakes and guy-line to secure the E-Home against strong storm winds. A futon bed frame with broken legs, thanks to some clever handiwork from Russell, is turned into a wall-mounted desk at the E-Base. Scrapwood of various sizes and lengths form the frame of our solar water heating system.
When one of the wind generator tailfins broke, we weren’t able to call a friendly toll-free telephone number to order a replacement—instead we wired it back together with some (found) steel cable, and soon the generator was aloft and generating electricity again.
Even the cardboard box from the crew of the ship Vavilov that once contained a going-away present of fresh fruit (alas, the fruit is long gone…hello Scurvy!) is now, after being cut down to form a flat surface, serving as the floor mat for our muddy boots as we enter the E-Base.
Making do, Antarctic style…