Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 2006-07: VUWAE 51
*PREPARATIONS FOR THE FIELD
*PREPARATIONS FOR THE FIELDpage 4
Reception and planning for your event
The reception was well organised, friendly and efficient. The main issues of the event were promptly discussed and organised. We would like to thank E. Barnes for his innovative and flexible approach and the successful organisation of our logistically challenging field programme.
Availability and condition of equipment received
We would like to thank Scott Base field support crew, B. McDavitt and J. Burton for their exceptional support with the preparation of our field event as well as their assistance with all of our field and science cargo and ice core deliveries. B. McDavitt and J. Burton prearranged prior to our arrival a significant part of our field camping equipment in the Hillary Field Centre cages.
The arrival of our group members was staged according the evolving needs and preparation requirements of the programme. For this reason, the first members of K049 to arrive were Bertler, Kipfstuhl, and Kingan to conduct the test drilling at Windless Bight as agreed on with Antarctica NZ as condition of shipping the ice core drilling during the previous season to Antarctica. The field manager suggested that the group would wait with the Antarctic field training until D. Robinson, the designated field safety expert, would arrive 8 days later with the second subgroup. This was welcome by the team as it provided a good and practical opportunity for a tailored shakedown journey, catering for the specific needs, such as skidoo travel in crevassed areas with their field safety expert. However, it became apparent, that as a consequence, the group was not allowed off-base until they could fulfil the requirement of a passing an Antarctic field training. Considering their considerable field deployment experience, this seemed unnecessary and posed a significant problem, to conduct the test drilling at Windless Bight in the available time. However, a compromise was found and the group participated in a refresher course and was subsequently allowed off-base to the Windless Bight ANDRILL location. However we suggest that previous experience will be taken into account when such requirements are determined.
The field training with R. Kirkwood and D. Robinson was excellent and catered for the specific needs of this group. Extensive crevasse extraction training, roped skidoo-travel, and management of extreme weather conditions were an important focus of the training. All members felt that the field training was very practical, helpful, and beneficial for the team. We are grateful to E. Barnes for the concept and excellent implementation of a modulised, tailored field training programme.
Field party equipment 'shakedown' journey
The equipment shakedown journey was particularly useful as minor defects in the equipment were identified and repaired, as well as traverse routines practised and revised. When the team deployed to Whitehall Glacier, all science and field equipment was thoroughly tested and checked.
Delays at Scott Base, whatever the cause
Weather conditions delayed our field deployment to Mt Erebus Saddle by two days.
Safety and Risk Management processes
The risk management process was useful.page 5
General comments about Scott Base
The Hillary Field Centre is a well designed, practical, and much welcome improvement for field preparations. The cage system as well as the bench space along with the excellent organisation and coordination of B. McDavitt and J. Burton allowed a number of groups to concurrently prepare and test their science and field equipment indoors. In addition this provided an atmosphere for scientific exchange between groups as well as exchange of practical experience between individuals. The doors to the cages are somewhat too narrow and don't allow equipment to be transferred by trolley. Also, the bench space would benefit from better protection against dust and cold air coming from the garage entrance part, which makes it currently difficult to leave sensitive equipment out on the benches.
Overall, we observe an increase in rules and regulations at Scott Base that seem at times unnecessary, such as increased bureaucratic paperwork (eg. we were required to fill out three separate Event Risk Management & Scott Base Processing forms), posted common sense rules (eg. a sign in the bar that intoxicated or underage persons will not be served alcohol), and the somewhat ridged implementation of regulations (eg. we were told that we would not be allowed to deploy into the field for our third field deployment this season (Mt Erebus Saddle) if the signed Event Risk Management and Scott Base Processing form wasn't received by the Programme Support Manager by 8pm the previous evening). While growing demands and challenges may necessitate Antarctica New Zealand to streamline, we hope that the practical and innovative spirit of the New Zealand programme will be retained.