Traverse to the Rauers, take two
With the successful traverse of the first team to the Rauers to prove the route, a second team of six expeditioners (Gav, Jeff, Mark, Paul, Bob and Pat) geared up for the traverse at the end of September and to take the opportunity to service the sea bird nest cameras on Hop Island. The crew left early on a fine morning, only to make it as far as the edge of the plateau before a mechanical problem with one of the Haggs forced a return to station for repairs.
Two days later, the repairs completed and a weather window open, the traverse went well, although smoothly would not describe the eight hour bumpy ride over blue ice and sastrugi to reach the south ramp at the Rauers to access the sea ice. The crew made for Filla Island to make base camp, having intel from the first crew of the lack of access to Hop Island due to the sea ice blowing out. A very comfortable set up for the four nights, with the use of the Apple, the “Ribit” van and a polar pyramid as the accommodation.Whereas the first crew had several days of idealistic weather (sun, no wind, clear nights), the weather remained grey, windy with occasional snow – more like spring in Antarctica. The benefit of this was that the deep blues of the plateau ice became more pronounced and allowed for some great sunsets. Nothing quite like enjoying an evening meal around a Tilly lamp outside, with the snow settling on everything and everyone.
After servicing the cameras on Hop Island, the crew took the time to explore the incredible coast line around the Rauers. All were hoping to see the return of the wildlife during the visit, but in the end, this was limited to a group of Weddell seals along a lead in the ice and some Snow Petrels. The penguins are yet to make a return to the Rauers!