All In A Weird Days Work..

I’ve done some varied jobs in my time, I’ve had some good one’s and some bad one’s – The good one’s include the likes of teaching jungle survival, managing swift water river teams, leading expeditions & managing my own IT company, then there’s the not so good one’s which include running a bouncy castle hire company, potato grading, paint lid putteronning, kids entertainer & that time when I spent a week driving round in a lorry delivering random boxes throughout South West England with a lorry driver who had a false eye and calipers on both legs…

Today saw me earning another ‘story to tell your grand kids’ with the simple task of transporting some water – Nothing odd about that in itself but the whole thing was just a little bit ‘odd’ yet, at the same time, rather interesting by the end of it.

Today’s Task – Deep Lake

Righto, so, there’s this lake OK….It’s fairly deep….so It’s called ‘Deep Lake’…but.. It’s called Deep Lake more because it’s water level is below the standard leveling point of most lakes in the area (i.e. it’s deep below sea level). It’s quite an interesting spot, you walk through the Vestfold Hills in the Summer and everything is as it should be, most lakes have their level roughly the same until you get to Deep lake which looks like it’s been cut into some form of old quarry (which of course it hasn’t) and the water level is actually about forty five metres below sea level. Another interesting thing is that it doesn’t freeze and it doesn’t freeze because it’s highly saturated with salt. When we were there today the air temperature was about minus twenty five and the lake temperature was minus eleven degrees which as we all know would see a normal fresh water lake shaking in it’s boots, even the sea at this temperature has a one metre ‘crust’ of sea ice evenly spread across it. But Deep lake doesn’t care, it’s so full of salt that it just sits there in all it’s liquefied glory….Even if it is a bit ‘gloopy’.

Deep Lake in Summer

Deep Lake in Summer

So, anyway, about the task.

Because of it’s interesting characteristics the ‘lake sampling team’ consisting of Sarah and Alyce come down here to collect water samples for ‘scientific reasons’ on occasions. The sampling in question is unfortunately not just a pipette and a test tube of salty water, the last few times we’ve been here we’ve had to extract one hundred and sixty litres of water and take them back to station for whatever it is they do with it all. the only reason I seemed to get involved in this is because an email often comes out asking for assistance with carrying the water – I just see this as a days free gym, others see it as something to avoid so I invariably end up helping every time, as does Josh….

Now, by ‘carrying’ I mean getting the one hundred and sixty litres from the lake and up into the back of a Hagg for transport back to station, this is done using (on today’s carry) six, thirty litre drums, which are obviously not light when full. The second part of this conundrum is that we cannot get the Hagg down to the lake’s edge, we have to park it roughly a kilometre away at the top of a valley that looks down towards the lake from over sixty metres above it, we’re unable to come down any closer as there are exposed rocks which we could damage using the Hagg which is an environmental no-no.

The Deep Lake Water Carry Route!

The last time we did this we physically dragged smaller sleds multiple times up the hill which took the best part of a complete day and nearly killed us, this time we were convinced that we should ‘work smarter, not harder’ and devised a more efficient method. Last night myself and Josh filled the Hagg up with a couple of large sleds and nearly a thousand metres of rope in various lengths. The plan was to leave the Hagg at the top of the hill and run the rope right down to the water’s edge where we could attach the sled with all six drums tied onto it. Once happy & radio’d to begin Alyce & Sarah would start reversing the Hagg at the top of the hill, tensioning the rope and dragging the sled uphill – Now, no path is exact, the rope was passed over snow stakes, through pulleys anchored to rocks and up and down hills, the rope was made up of different lengths which were tied together, the knots of which needed to be moved around the pulleys and the Hag had a limited reversing distance so we had to stop and reset the rope every five minutes or so…All that said, from the time we started pulling to the time we started loading the Hagg with the water drums it must have only been about nineties minutes of towing………The longest bit was coiling a kilometre of rope when finished, that was a shoulder work out in itself!

Some pics of my weird day at work as a comms technician

Sunday Berg Cruise

So yesterday was Sunday, the weather was beautiful so myself, Josh, Val & Craig jumped in a Hagg and went out for a cruise around the bergs to take photos and look around. We took some flasks of boiling water to get some ‘steam throwing’ pics too – Basically the water leaves the cup and as soon as it hits the air the temperature difference causes it to turn to steam which makes some nice effects when getting the camera out. There was also a ‘jade berg’ (not really made of jade) out near bandits hut that Josh had plotted from a prior trip so we went for a look at that too. A jade berg, for those that are interested has a denser, greener colour to normal ice, something to do with the way it has collected bacteria etc, I just tried to look the reasons up to make myself sound intelligent but the only google hits that came back were for some self important ‘fashion stylist’ called ‘Jade Berg’ who looked a bit annoying….I’ll ask someone here and find out for next time!

Anyway, some pics from Sunday:

Cheers for now

Stu

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