Liz fixed up a schedule with Helo Ops and we were slated to fly out of McMurdo a little after . We picked up backpacks from our ‘equipment cage’ from the Berg Field Center (BFC), had an early lunch, got another packed lunch to have when out in the valleys and reported at the helicopter terminal around 11:30 am. There, Gifford the Helo coordinator gave us a briefing on safety and after selecting appropriate sized helmets we were led to the A-star helicopter where we met our pilot Dustin.
I had never been in a helicopter before and boy, I was excited! Liz let me have the front seat next to the pilot, which was sweet. Dustin asked me to relax and said it would feel just like an elevator as we lift off and then it isn’t any different than being in the front seat of a car! Yes, a car without wheels, but with two rotors that could fly! I was expecting it to be a noisy machine to travel in but, the French-made helicopter didn’t make much more than a loud roar and after connecting the headset in the helmet we were able to converse quite comfortably.
Hobbs Glacier and Royal Society Range from the helicopter (helo)
As we left McMurdo we could easily look out north and see the Oden cutting its channel through the ice followed a few miles behind by the
Raised features on the sea-ice of smooth, blue ice resemble dunes.
We had a beautiful warm day to be out in the valleys and a few hours work later, we heard the roar of Dustin’s helicopter as it approached us and soon it was time to head back to town. It was an amazing day and a truly unforgettable one for me.
The Strand moraines obstruct the flow of the Bower's Piedmont Glacier.
Flying over the 5 mile wide Ferrar Glacier!
A glacier hangs over the Ferrar valley from the Kukri Hills.
Looking west into Taylor Valley. From front: Lake Bonney, Taylor Glacier, Ferrar Dolerites (dark bands).
A dolerite dike intruding granite in Taylor Valley is subject to the erosive power of wind.
The broken fragments of dolerite are sculpted by wind to form beautiful ventifacts with smooth faces.