Nov 28 – Thanksgiving

December 4, 2009

We took Saturday off to celebrate Thanksgiving. I woke up around noon to see almost everyone already up and to be greeted cheerfully by Emma. Peter was cooking turkey (apart from other stuff) , and Kristof was working on a veggie casserole. After breakfast, I decided to hike down valley to the east end of the lake. Emma decided to accompany me and we had a great time. It was very beautiful and quiet there – it was as if we had traveled back in time. It is rare to get such a sense of solitude and freedom. We came back and enjoyed  a very nice Thanksgiving meal and desserts cooked by Bill and Emma.

Peter working on turkey.

Myself on the way to the east end of the lake.

Emma. Behind her is the east end of Lake Bonney.

During summer, glacier melt-water flows into streams that feed into Lake Bonney. Emma walking by Priscu stream.

Thanksgiving dinner. Starting from left front and going clockwise - Emma, Vickie, Chris, Rachel, Peter, Kristof, Bill, Leah.


Nov 15 – Beautiful beyond words

November 22, 2009

We had a very relaxed day today. John made us delicious crepes for brunch in the morning. We had “showers” which basically involve filling an insulated bag with water and sitting under the “tap” in the bag. In the evening, I ended up drinking rather too much of coffee which made me hyperactive. I decided to go for a hike up the hill to see ventifacts. John and Emma decided to come too. It was one of the most beautiful walks of my life and I cannot describe it in words. Below are some pictures.

It had snowed all night. Chris got to work and made snowmen. Emma, Bill, Chris, Bart, Kristof, and Vickie.

John on our way up to see the ventifacts. In the background is Taylor glacier. To the right is east lobe of Lake Bonney leading up to the narrows.

Myself. Thanks to John for this photo.

Ventifacts

Emma.

At the top of the hill. The "zen garden" in John's words.


Nov 14 – Traveling east

November 22, 2009

We spent the morning looking at data from yesterday and trying to debug the communications failure problem. We had some ideas but we were not sure what the exact problem was. The mission for the day involved  traveling to the narrows – the part of lake that connects west lobe to the east lobe. The bot swam about 1.5 km to reach the far east – this is the farthest the bot had ever been. Much remains
unknown about this part of the lake and we were very excited to see the visualizations from the sonars on the bot. We might go there again later for getting more data.
While returning back, we had the same comms failure again. In a flash of inspiration, I was able to figure out what the problem was – a process that had memory leaks and was slowly eating up RAM till 100% was used.
Midway through the mission, it started to snow and Vickie and Bill had a tough time outdoors. It is fairly rare to snow in the dry valleys, so I was very excited. At the end of the day, Bill showed me how to track the robot using the radio beacon. Overall, this was a very good day for us and we have decided to take the day off tomorrow.

A map of lake Bonney showing the profiling points. The points that we have finished are shown in green. Today we went to the point farthest east (D21) on the grid. This point is at the far east of West lobe and at the start of "the narrows" - the narrow channel of water connecting the west lobe to the east lobe.

Bill and Vickie at the end of the day. They were out all day tracking the robot and marking the exact location at whihc it profiled. It snowed half the day making their task difficult.

The first snowfall I have ever seen.