It’s about time that I get a word in here. The humans call me the ‘BID’, short for Blue Ice Drill, but no one’s ever had the decency to ask me what I’d like to be called. My real name is Bernard Ichabod Douglas. My friends call me Bernie but I’m not much for nicknames. I’m a large diameter ice drill and I’ve been in the business for what seems like eternity. While I don’t go very deep, kilo for kilo I’ve drilled more ice than any of my colleagues. I’ll tell you – I’m getting pretty tired these days. Thinking about taking some time off, maybe visiting my family back in Wisconsin.
Since my creation, I’ve been working almost non-stop. I’ve done five seasons at Taylor Glacier and three up at Summit in Greenland. This season, I started work a whole week earlier than most of the humans out here. I was sent out by helo to a site near the terminus of the glacier for another project with a group of three people, including my driller friend Jayred. On the last day of this short project, the humans got on a helicopter, leaving me out here on the glacier to fend for myself.
After five long days, a few members of the team finally arrived to greet me, and we spent two days drilling at this site. The goal was to find some of the oldest ice at Taylor Glacier, from some period called ‘MIS 6’, which happened about 150,000 years ago. After the work there was done, they lowered my tripod and packed me up for a long bumpy ride upglacier to the camp location.
I’ll tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever travelled so much in a season. After that trip, I got dragged all across the ‘Main Transect’, a long (couple thousand foot) section of the glacier. I was getting pretty worn out. Then, a few days ago while my tripod was being lowered so we could move to a new site further downglacier, my tripod’s foot rotating extension (or my ankle) snapped at the welding. The humans determined that the piece needed to be sent back to McMurdo to be fixed, but the McMurdo humans were taking the next two days off, so it had to wait. With my bum leg, I couldn’t do any work until my part was fixed, so it was time for a little R&R for me, while the humans worked on other projects that didn’t require my services.
On Monday, Jayred hopped on a helo with my injured ankle. I was convinced I wouldn’t see them again, but 8 hours later he returned with my piece, newly re-welded. I have to admit, the McMurdo humans did a pretty nice job on the repair.
Within a few hours of Jayred’s return, the team started putting me back together. My tripod was carefully raised and we were back in business. I have to admit, it’s nice to be back to work. But someday, I’d still like a real vacation. Somewhere where there’s no ice for miles…
Bernard Ichabod Douglas
Oh, I guess I could give you a few updates about the humans. They celebrated Thanksgiving last week. No one bothered to invite me, but I heard that Kathy did a wonderful job preparing all sorts of food. On a day off a few of them went downglacier to check out the melt water channels. The next work day, they switched over to working on night shifts so that I don’t overheat in the sun. There’s sunlight here for 24 hours a day, but during the ‘evening’ the sun hides behind the Kukri Hills for a few hours of shade. Everyone seems to be keeping busy. I guess I can share some of their pictures so you get the idea…
Andy hard at work running the GC
Joe and Ed operating the ice hungry continuous melter
Vas and Peter cutting a BID core on the bandsaw. One section will be used for continuous melter sticks, and one section will be subsampled and sent back for analysis back at Rochester
Peter tossing a scrap piece of a BID
The meltwater channels as seen from above taken from a GoPro strung to a balloon
Sarah, Michael, and Berni on a day of reconnaissance sampling and balloon aerial photography