Woop Woop and Back
Going way up Woop Woop! (aka Davis Skiway)
The sea ice is over one metre thick and the ramp access to the plateau was checked by a team last week so alas it was decided that the time had come to collect the machinery from Davis Skiway on the plateau.
A team consisting of four (Craigo, Brian, Corey and Rob) was organised for the trip up to Davis Skiway, and a devious plan was formed.
The idea was to leave early on Thursday morning to get to the skiway, spend the remainder of the day digging out the vehicles and then get on our way home early the next day. Unfortunately the weather had a different idea with 40 knot winds causing us to delay our departure until just after lunch.
Once underway it was a nice slow scenic plod across the sea ice, past Brookes Hut then turning off before Platcha Hut and up the ramp to the plateau. Once onto the plateau we experienced moderate gusts and poor visibility. Using the GPS as our life line (and Corey's remarkable radar reading skills) we soon had the skiway in our sights, the journey there taking no more than four hours.
A nice night was had in Woop Woop domestic terminal (a small portable hut) sipping Baileys out of crystal goblets and discussing the economy, politics and world affairs.
The next day it was all hands and shovels as we started the vigorous task of digging out all the machinery, consisting of a Prinoth snow groomer, a Hägglunds oversnow transport vehicle, a Cat skid steer loader and a Generator.
Four hours later we had everything running and loaded for transport (the Skid steer and Generator on trailers behind the two Hägglunds) and just as we were about to head off we experienced engine problems with the red Hägglunds (the one that had just been dug out). It was quickly decided that it would be best to leave the Hägglunds for recovery at a later date. We were losing our daylight and wanted to be going down the ramp off the plateau with as much light as possible.
With Brian and Craig in the yellow Hägglunds towing the Skid steer loader on a trailer and Corey and Rob in the Prinoth groomer we started our journey home. A few lessons where quickly learned:
1) It is very handy to have a machine in front with a blade as snow drifts become flat roads instead of kidney wrenching bumps!
2) Snow groomers are very slow
3) Warm machine tracks freeze to the ground very quickly! If stopped for more than five minutes it is very difficult to get moving again.
A great time was had by all, and we were very thankful for the thoughtful people back on station who had dinner put aside for us to get stuck into once we got back (about 8:00 pm that Friday night).