Day 24: Speed and
Melt of Glacier
I didn't have
a bad night's sleep. We weren't allowed to drink in case we
fell off of the mountain and I ended up dreaming about a road across the
mountain with a pub on it. Over breakfast we talk about a book that I
had read some time ago called ‘Beyond the Skipper's Road'
by Terri McNichol. It turns out that she was Chris' surrogate grandmother
when he had lived on a farm in Otago. It's a small world. Even more
remarkably, Chris' sister-in-law had gone to school with Martin
The ice lenses are
a nightmare. Although a wicked idea, the water in Kathy's balloon
lens hadn't frozen overnight. Bummer! My ‘lenses' have
gas bubbles in them. Kathy uses a saltwater bath to quickly freeze the
water in her balloon lens. The salt allows the water/snow/ice mixture
surrounding the balloon in a dish to fall to very low temperatures - well
below freezing. This time the pure water in the balloon freezes, but she
too has bubbles. We don't really have time to perfect the lenses
but none the less, when sunlight is focussed onto our hands it warms us.
Not enough to set fire to anything though.
The helicopter arrives
blowing hard ice crystals from the snowy outcrop painfully into my face.
We go back down to our measuring station on the glacier and take our readings.
Keas had attacked the equipment overnight but it was still useable. J
and I use a scale drawing and work out that the pinnacle we are measuring
has moved one metre. Kathy uses trigonometry to give a result of 1.3 metres.
There are bound to be errors in each but they sound reasonable enough.
then have lunch. Derek asks the date. Turns out it is his birthday. Cool!
There is only a little more walking to do, which is good because my feet
hurt badly from an injury that I sustained while running away from an
aggressive bull in India. The others come up to join us in helicopters
from the sawmill. The programme is finished by about 4 pm. Our estimate
of the speed at which the glacier moves turns out to be spot on. We are
ferried back to Franz Josef township by helicopter. I'm tired. We
celebrate. I get drunk. Cool programme!