Beaver Lake Adventure

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This week at Davis: 2 December 2011

Rubbish removal Antarctica style

Required: One Twin Otter, two choppers, three pilots, four tradies and four aircraft support crew.

Job: Remove rubbish, science equipment and recover fuel drums from Beaver Lake Remote Field Camp.

Following the coast line from Davis, the two choppers headed for Samson Island to refuel, flying over icebergs, glaciers and a Russian ship. The same ship that followed us for a short time on the way down is only now close enough to do its resupply at the new Indian base. At Samson Island, after checking out the Melon and stretching our legs, we went onwards over the Amery ice shelf for another hour. That’s an hour of white only, ice, snow and sky - no coast to be seen apart from a tiny dot on the horizon, and the Prince Charles Mountains, our destination.

First to arrive at Beaver Lake was the Twin Otter dropping off tradies Ben and Danny and Perry the engineer, then going on to drop materials at the PCM’s for science. Once the choppers arrived the drum recovery started with Ben, Danny, Perry and Ben attaching the drums, and Frank (pilot) lifting them to a more secure position. At the same time Doug flew Jeremy and the tradies, Geoff and John, up to the Apples to clean up two storage pits and used fuel drums. Slung under the chopper, a net full of drums was the first to be taken down to the fuel dump, then another 4 nets of drums, rubbish and equipment that had been there a quite a few years. All rubbish and drums retrieved saw the Twin Otter return from the PCM’s. It was then loaded with one net of rubbish and a few empty drums. The return flight was even more spectacular than the trip down as the sun was low and reflecting off the icebergs. There are still a few back loads to be taken back to Davis – a job for the Twin Otter another day.

John Harris, Carpenter, Davis 2011-12

Ship in sea ice
Indian Expedition resupply off the Larsemann Hills - MS Ivan Papanin
(Photo: John Harris)
Helicopter and fuel drums
Refueling at Sansom Island
(Photo: John Harris)
Plane on frozen lake
Twin Otter at Beaver Lake
(Photo: John Harris)
Helicopter with slung load
VH-SES slinging rubbish and drums to the lake ice for retrieval to…
(Photo: John Harris)
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