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November 2011 Archives

Check out the new videos on the  IGNITERRA site courtesy of Dr. Craig Herbold who we hope is doing well in Argentina. Below is the short Erebus video although there are some others on IGNITERRA. Some great shots of geothermal ice caves, shots from the top of Mt Erebus and life in the Erebus huts.

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Over the past few months the various Waikato projects have shipped down boxes of Scientific equipment to allow them to complete their projects. Tomorrow will be the last major scheduled shipment we will be sending down including the bulk of the gear for my Bratina Island project. 

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Did you know that no fewer than 7 Antarctic projects have a direct Waikato link this season alone, with 4 being led by researchers at the University!? I didn't either until I started asking around. For the number of scientists Waikato has working on Antarctic research we have a huge impact on the field within New Zealand and the World. Most of these projects can be found on the research page on ICTAR.

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Once you have a project and funding to go down to Antarctica Antarctica New Zealand still need to make sure that you are physically fit enough for your trip. The requirements are different based on what you are doing, fairly standard tests for short summer trips, more stringent tests for deep field projects (a mandatory ECG) and even more stringent for over winter personnel. Most who go down only need the basic short stay summer tests and since that is what I have just been through that is what I will focus on in this post. 

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 Hi guys here is the link to a first look video I put together from Craigs trip, we should be getting more clips from the remaining Erebus crew sometime next week but until then see what its like to go down to and work in Antarctica. 

I will try to get them up on the Universities youtube page once I talk to the people in the communications department, until then click on the hyperlink in the description of the video to see a bigger version.

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 What is Antarctic science without experiments? Many projects will require special equipment to carry out your research, some can be bought but others you must make yourself.  In this entry I will run over some of the equipment I will be using for my project this year. For more information please go to my webpage: http://ictar.aq/bratina%20ponds.php

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Craig returned to our lab yesterday but not for long, tomorrow he will begin his journey to Argentina and then onto Deception Island on the Antarctic Penisula. Luckily he was able to give us some great pictures of his time up on Erebus http://igniterra.ictar.aq/pictures.php there are some pretty amazing shots I would suggest checking it out!

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 I just made it back to Scott base (well, I have showered and started a wash of my stinkies) and the others are going to stay up there until Monday. Weather was fantastic and we got heaps done over the last few days. We did have some ski-doo issues which delayed progress.

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On Monday approximately 360 year 10 students came to the University for a series of mini-lectures including one from myself about the projects currently running through our centre ICTAR. A copy of the talk can be found at the following link  http://ictar.aq/presentations.php

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 Well it has not been a great start to the Erebus project with delays already. Here is an email sent by Dr Craig Herbold from Scott base:

"We have been delayed. First last night until this morning. Now we have been delayed until 10:30 when they reassess. USAP has been trying to get carpenters and comms people to LEH for a week now with no luck. The weather here is beautiful, but the top of the volcano has these lenticular clouds that mean high wind. No go. Booo!"

Late yesterday he emailed me again to say that they should be going up late yesterday afternoon, I haven't heard from him since, lets hope that they made it up there

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I have just put up a personal profile for Josh on the ICTAR website if you would like to know more about him http://ictar.aq/people-jscarrow.php

Thursday, 3 November 2011

After a few days of steaming through pancake and first year ice, we are now solidly into the pack, at times having to reverse and charge forwards, breaking through ice over a metre thick which considerably slows our progress. We are below 60° South, with air temperatures around -3° C and minimal breeze.

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You remember Josh Scarrow the very fortunate masters student who is joining an Australian Antarctic expedition over the next 5 months http://www.waikato.ac.nz/news-events/media/2011/09waikato-masters-student-joins-aussies-on-ice.shtml

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Have been aboard the Aurora Australis since Sunday afternoon. We’re chugging along at a steady ten knots or so, into a nice rolling swell of 2-4 metres. I haven’t felt any seasickness symptoms at all, although have been victim to overeating due to the incredible quality and quantity of food served up so far; the survival instincts of a poor student are difficult to override. There are several green looking people around, and some stay confined to their bunks 24/7.
 
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I just received word from Craig Herbold about the Erebus teams progress:

"After a four hour delay, followed by mechanical problems with the Ski Herc that extended that delay into a full day, Craig, Ian, the Nat Geo team and myself finally got to Scott Base a day late but in good spirits and good health."

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One of the projects to head down this season is my project: the microbiology of the Bratina Island Ponds (or K025 to Antarctica New Zealand). Background information about this project can be found on my webpage http://ictar.aq/bratina%20ponds.php but throughout the next couple of months I will be giving you a blow by blow account on what a scientific trip to Antarctica entails.

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Only yesterday the team got on the plane after some delays to head down to Antarctica (I have not heard if they made it or if they had to boomerang) and already their story is out there. Check out the links in the extended section to view the articles/interviews so far.

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