With the sea ice opening for operational use on the 16th of May, and the ice well over the 600mm we require for safe sea ice travel in Hägglunds, we can now start using the Haggs for operational use around the station limits. Before the Hägglunds could be driven out onto the ice however, a sea ice recovery course first needed to be done by all. As part of our job as diesos, we are responsible for this training.
We set up a slalom and obstacle course marked with bamboo canes on the sea ice at the front of the station that was to put the expeditioners through their paces. No roundabouts or traffic lights to contend with down here, but tide cracks and ice flows can prove just as dangerous if not shown the same level of respect.
Once all expeditioners had been briefed on the safe operation and pre-start requirements of the Hägglunds, everyone had their chance to drive and show off their skills. All eventually completed the course, but let’s just say it was a good thing we were using canes rather than other vehicles for the parking skills tests.
We then completed the recovery part of the course should, despite their best efforts, thin sea ice get the better of anyone. Although Hägglunds can float (more or less) there is still an art to getting them back on solid ground. Instructions on the correct use of winches, anchors and the minimum field travel equipment also made up parts of this session.
It turned out to be a fun and rewarding experience for all.