By Hugues Goosse
Our first camp was a temporary one so things were made relatively rapidly. The installation of the second camp was more elaborated and took also more time.
A main element in the planning of the camp is the wind. The different parts (tents, kitchen, containers with the material, skidoo parking) should be placed in the right way to provide shelter to the ones that are downwind but not inducing snow accumulation close to them.
For instance, all the tents are aligned in the direction of the dominant wind, with the opening of the tent in the direction opposite to the wind. A container is placed few meters in front of the tents to reduce wind speed close to the tent.
The main element to protect us from the wind is a two to three meter snow wall that was constructed with the snow tractors. This gives a bit the feeling of being in the middle of castle lost in the ice, but no night watch need to scouting at the top of this wall as we are in the South.
We also had to build a tent to protect the drilling system. This allows us to work when the conditions are not great.
It may seem strange but the main fear is not bad weather but melting. If the sun is shining directly on the drill, it can warm up and induce melting of snow that could then refreeze and perturb the system. A too high temperature is also of course not recommended to preserve the ice core.
We were then able to start the drilling December 19 after lunch. The first meters go quickly and it was already possible to collect 32 meters of ice on this first day. It will be slower as we get deeper but it is a very good start!