May 23, 2017

Glacier Benito Journal: Preparing for Drone Flights – Wednesday, 12th April

Posted by larryohanlon

See the other posts from this expedition here

By Martin Sessions

Level II Finger Lower Cairn

Each morning’s activity started with getting up at about 0730 to light the cookers. The ground and glacier were frosted. As soon as we left the tent, the condensation inside the tent also turned to ice which fell onto our sleeping bags and mattresses as we entered the tent again to get items required during the day. With JetBoil cookers, it did not take long to boil the water, provided the gas canisters were warmed in the sleeping bag first. The rest of the team arose promptly at 0800 although it was still quite dark. We were assisted by the bright near full moon in the early morning. Mark and Marcos went up the Finger to find the cairns for Level II. They found one cairn which was great news.

Starting the Base Station

Johnny worked on preparing the X8 drone. Each morning Olaf started the Base Station near the camp site. Afterwards, at 1030, Olaf and I walked towards Dump ridge, positioning seven one meter square markers on the glacier to provide reference points for the X8 drone survey. The GPS base station had been set up before Olaf and I set off to improve the accuracy of the measured points. We returned at 1630.







Placing a Marker on the Glacier for the Drone Flight

The Further we walked across the Glacier, the deeper the Crevasses

The Stunning Backdrop

The ‘Eagle’

The X8 drone was supposed to fly that afternoon but a number of technical problems prevented the planned flight. A number of work arounds were made and the motor ran on the last test of the day.

Drone Launch Attempt

Drone Launch Attempt

An interesting event occurred during the day when the small lake at the end of the Finger emptied totally in about 12 hours!

The Lake at the end of the Finger

Where has the Lake Gone?

Sundown occurred around 1930 but the sun went behind Co Caldenius just after 1800. We spent a few minutes after sunset observing satellites ‘fly’ across the sky. Our second day was simply beautiful with no clouds, stunning views and no wind.

The Ice turned Red briefly for a few minutes

 — Next: Finding the Level Markers —

This post was originally published here

Martin Sessions was born in Kenya in 1948 but educated in England, finishing up with a degree in Engineering at Cambridge University (Pembroke College). For 28 years, he served in the Royal Navy as an Engineer Officer before migrating to Australia where he is an engineering consultant in Canberra. His first expedition was to Koldukvislarjokull in the North West corner of Vatnajokull, Iceland in 1970. Then followed expeditions to Chilean Patagonia (1972/73) and Liverpool Land, Greenland (1977). Finally he made expeditions to Glacier Benito in 2007, 2011 and 2017 to capitalize on work undertaken there in 1972/73.