Friday, 3 October 2014

The Rauers

As I have mentioned in a few previous blogs, something that I consider to be one of the biggest highlights of wintering in Antarctica is the chance to be part of a Traverse.

This year we had the opportunity to load up two Hägglunds, a RMIT Traverse 'Caravan' and Sheers traverse sled with eight people and their equipment for a week or so in the Rauer Group of Islands.

Hägg on the Glacier


Part of why I am so passionate about Traverses is the journey. Being out in one of the most inhospitable environments on the earth, relying on your machinery, equipment and your team is quite exhilarating. Getting to the Rauers involves spending a lot of time on the Plateau and crossing Glacier tongues (with crevasses and slots) and steep ice ramps.

Blue and Black inside a Crevasse!


Large ice crystals from inside a Crevasse


Strangely enough, the Rauer Islands are a stark contrast to the hills of the Vestfolds. The Rauers seem to be composed of more 'sedimentary' type rock (if there are any Geologists reading this I apologise for my lack of knowledge) and there aren't any of the large black Dykes that criss-cross the Vestfolds. I don't know if its just because I have been cooped up indoors for too long but I actually find the Rauers quite breathtaking.

Top of the Macey ramp


Top of Macey Peninsula

A Quartz vein??

It was quite strange coming across this rock formation on Filla Island!
Interesting rock formation!!

Rusting rocks!? Don't tell Clive Palmer...

Mars or Antarctica?


Layers

A 'Football' sized garnet boulder.

I wont go into too many detail about this trip, I'll just let the pictures to the talking...

Milky Way and a baby Aurora Australis

Accommodation on Filla Island

Backlit Bergs

Some stripes of Jade in this one!

Layla found an interesting one!

Sarah at the 'Tiger Jade' berg

Exploring day

The Plateau/Ice Cap forms interesting cloud formations

Sarah at Brown's Glacier

Adam waiting for a Penguin

The Team: Val, Dave, Sarah, Me, Layla, Adam, Craig and Alyce

Apparently Lichen loves the cold and wind of the Plateau

More Mossy stuff, almost fluro!

Wind scour with some Moraine, didn't find a Meteorite though.

Sarah admiring another Iceberg


The Summit of Lookout Islands

The Sorsdal Glacier from Lookout

The real reason for the trip was for Sarah and Alyce, our science girls, to do some never before achieved winter sampling of the lakes in the area. Although of the 22 lakes that were sampled only 3 were actually liquid and would provide a sample containing 'Biomass' (creatures/bugs/things to you and I) still, any data gained is valuable in learning about the creatures that live in these sorts of environments.

Alyce, Val and Sarah hoping to strike liquid water!


More sampling

Eureka!

Yep, -13deg IN the water, its pretty salty...

All up we spent 8 days off station due to unfavourable weather and the team coped brilliantly and with no incident, it was a trip to tell the grandkids about, that's for sure!

Our camp, from the left: The RMIT, Hägg refuelling area, an Apple and a Smartie.

The view from the crapper.

Inside the Smartie

The morning to head back home.

Ready for home!

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