Reinstalled the mast on the ice


22 January 2007

One thing we have learnt during this first winter is that nothing in the Arctic is permanent. After completing the installation of each new instrument we place on or under the ice we are only too aware that days of work might be destroyed in a matter of minutes if the ice breaks.

Wind: NE, 5 knots
Sea Ice: Stable
Visibility: Good, clear sky
Moon: Not visible

On two occasions we have deployed and then saved the meteorological mast. Falling during the last period of ice movement in late December, we have now reinstalled the mast on the ice with a new diamond rig thanks to Herve and Matthieu. Designed to minimise the footprint of the mast and support cables on the ice, we hope that this will also minimise the risk to the mast when the ice moves again. Constructing this system was a time consuming activity and required bringing the mast inside the boat to have a temperature that was suitable for welding. Matthieu also had to complete much of the cabling work inside as the cables become ridged and break easily with the temperature outside. Once outside the work is never simple, plugs that would not connect required heating with a butane torch, however the butane freezes below -10˚C, requiring an insulation cover on the gas canister. On top of these difficulties are the ever present frozen fingers, turning a simple task such as tightening a nut and bolt into a painful challenge. We understand better now why everything takes time in the high Arctic. Grant