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Victoria University Antarctic Research End-of-Season Report 1995-96: VUWAE 40


page 6


Phase 2 of K001's 1995/96 Season was highly successful. The second ship off-load was efficiently and safely carried out in spite of sea ice conditions that, in places on the ship-to-shore route, were rapidly becoming marginal. Much of the credit for this must go to Alex Pyne for his knowledge of the sea ice and thorough planning and inspection of the route. Everybody involved in the operation worked extremely hard, long days and although tiredness began to take its toll towards the end morale remained high and everybody was positive about 'getting the job done'.

During this Phase no time was lost due to bad weather. In fact the weather overall was excellent - a majority of days were clear, sunny and 'warm' with little wind. Only one day could be described as poor weather with low overcast, a cool wind and light snow.

No ill health or accidents were reported. Having said that, it was a concern of Cowie and Pyne that the hours that had to be worked to achieve the task and the resulting tiredness could just have easily contributed to an accident or personal injury. Had the weather not been so good the risk of accident or injury would have greater. There is also little doubt that the use of NZAP's Kassbohrer PB 170 and its Hiab crane contributed significantly to minimising injury or accident during lifting operations. Where there was any doubt about the capability of people to lift or move something safely, the Hiab crane was used. It was invaluable.

Support received from Scott Base was good - efficient and timely. There appeared to be a difference of opinion over ration entitlement with CRP personnel eating a mix of food from ration boxes supplemented mainly by fresh food (meat and fruit/vegetables). Given the consistently high work rate the combination of food was both necessary and justifiable.

The environmental impact of this pre-drilling phase of CRP on Cape Roberts and the surrounding area was minimal, with one exception. Wherever possible and practicable all staff adhered to the requirements of the CEE. Regrettably there was greater ground disturbance inside the designated storage area on Cape Roberts than had been anticipated. An area of approximately 1,000 square metres immediately to the west and north west of the permanent NZAP hut was cut up by tracked vehicles and sledge runners as the 23 containers now on site were manoeuvred into position. Unlike the previous season, there was little snow on the ground this January to provide protection. Every effort was made at the time to restore the damaged areas by racking but it is clear a bigger effort will be required once the Project is completed and all equipment removed from the Cape.

Jim Cowie

Project Manager Cape Roberts Project