16 JUNE 1995

We've had quite a lot of snow this week. It was so deep that we couldn't walk on top of it without sinking in. We put on our snow shoes for the very first time. It was quite weird. We felt like Daffy Duck walking around with tennis racquets strapped to our feet. I fell over a couple of times but Margie was okay.

There are only a few days to go until our Mid-Winter Party on the 21st of June which is fantastic. We have a fun day planned with feasting and entertainment.

We have some special treats that we packed for celebrations and we are really looking forward to eating them. For the Mid-Winter Party we have planned the following midday meal. For the entree we are going to have liver pate,caviar and Camembert cheese on biscuits. The soup course will be pea and ham soup. Then the main course which is one of my favourites, roast lamb with mint jelly. The roast will be served with Edgell's frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. An exotic beverage will be served rare and precious 1994 cans of Pepsi Cola. Dessert will be plum pudding and custard, (I love custard. When I sailed around the world in BUTTERCUP I had a big stash of custard on board.) After this feast we will have hot chocolate with marshmallows floating on top and chocolate biscuits. Would your special feast include food like this if you were in Antarctica with us?

We will begin Mid-Winter's Day early with a phone call to the TODAY SHOW. They are going to link us up with a school and the class will be on television all around Australia. Be sure to get someone to make a video recording of Wednesday's TODAY SHOW on Channel 9 if your aren't able to watch it because you are either in school or travelling to school during that time of the morning. It is scheduled for 8:15 A.M. To make this television link Channel 9 sent a truck full of equipment to several different schools around Sydney. They took a survey from each school by trying to send a signal back to the Channel 9 studio from the truck. The signal is sent from an aerial that telescopes up almost 10 metres from the top of the truck. This aerial has to make line of sight contact with the very high television aerial at Channel 9 in Willoughby, NSW. A hill, a tree or a building can block the aerial's line of sight. The truck must also be able to get within 200 metres of the classroom. Of course, we have no television in Antarctica and we won't be able to see the program but you will see either a still photograph of us on tv or some of the actual video that we made in Antarctica in January this year. After that exciting morning talking to Australian students in a classroom decorated with YOUR MID-WINTER CARDS we will chat with 25 schools in New Zealand on our weekly conference call.
We have really enjoyed hearing about all the Mid-Winter Cards we are receiving. It makes us feellike we aren't all alone. Thanks to everyone who has sent us a card or poster. It's very hard for Margie and I to answer all your letters but our office is reading them to us over the phone which is a lot of fun so thanks very much. A special thanks to Birdwood Primary School in South Australia, Dalmain Public School in West Australia and Roseville Primary and Middle Harbour Public Schools in New South Wales who have sent us some really creative cards. We heard this week that quite a few New Zealand schools are building mock ups of Gadget Hut to see how big it is. That sounds like a great idea and a lot of fun. Maybe you could send us a photo or two so that when we get back to Australia we can look at the photos and see exactly what you're up to. Some schools are sleeping over at school on the 21st of June to experience what we're going through here and we look forward to speaking to some of you on the telephone that night.

We spoke to the New Zealand's Scott Base in Antarctica today to wish them well for Mid-Winter and to say hello to Scotty, their cook. We found out that their Mid-Winter air drop by Hercules aircraft from Christchurch, New Zealand arrived that day. It dropped 40 parcels each weighing almost 500 kilograms! The parcels were filled with fresh food, Christmas presents and mail. The bad news was that five or six of the parachutes didn't open. Some of the fresh food got smashed on the ice. It was really great to chat with them and to our surprise, it turned out that they'd been receiving our weekly journal! They knew all about us and we had a lot of laughs on the telephone. They have been experiencing calms instead of strong winds like we have but they have had no sun and no light at all for many months now.

Scott Base is located at 77 degrees, 51 minutes South latitude and 166 degrees, 46 minutes East longitude on the western side of the Ross Sea. We are located at 67 degrees South latitude and 143 degrees East longitude almost 1000 kilometres away. Margie and I got excited thinking about their movies, hot showers and lots of other people to talk to which would be a lot of fun. Beginning in mid August planes start landing at Scott Base to change personnel. Margie started thinking about how long the 1000 kilometre walk would take and what the airfare would cost! Of course we can't do it during Expedition Ice©Bound but it is fun to think about projects like that. Margie and I have read a lot about the exploration of Antarctica. In the 1950's Vivian Fuchs and Sir Edmund Hilary lead teams of men on an expedition to be the first to cross Antarctica. Hilary left from Scott Base and Fuchs left from Shackleton Base (77 degrees 57 minutes South, 37 degrees 9 minutes West). The Trans Antarctic Expedition of 1957 was successful and Sir Edmund Hilary and Vivian Fuchs met on 19 January 1958 just three kilometres from the South Pole. Once they reached the South Pole Vivian Fuchs and his men continued on to Scott Base. Their Trans Antarctic route covered 3,472 kilometres in 99 days. One of the photographs in a book shows the living quarters that Sir Edmund Hilary and his team used. It was smaller than Gadget Hut! It was a plywood box 1.2 by 3.6 metres which they towed behind a tractor. The four men slept inside with their equipment in an area half the size of Gadget Hut.

During a lull on Tuesday, we went up onto the roof and installed a new wind speed and direction indicator. The old direction indicator lasted for five months of incredible winds! We got caught half way through the job when a small blizzard turned up. It was difficult to complete the job but we got it done and were glad to get inside when we finished. One night our air vent was letting in very little air. We checked it and the vent was down to only 25 mm in diameter. We tried to chip the ice out but the ice was pretty solid. In the end we had to put the Tilley pressure lamp under the vent and the hot gasses melted the ice over a period of about 3 hours. It makes a big difference with the vent clear.

Our mattress which has been an ongoing problem now consists of the original 10cm of foam covered in plastic bags with two 10mm sleeping mats that we normally use when we go camping on top. Then we have our thermorest blow up mattress on top of all that. It is just okay. The past week we have been experiencing another heatwave. The temperature has been averaging around minus 10 degrees Celsius. Compared to last week's minus 30 it seems mild and all the ice inside the hut has melted off the windows and off the walls. There is a lot of water all over the place. We collect over a litre of water from the space blanket over our bunk each night. One night the water managed to seep through a small hole in the space blanket. It drowned the sleeping bag so we had to stay up and dry it in front of the heater. The heatwave has made it much easier to start the generator. We didn't have to warm the batteries which saved us a bit of generator time which was good. Generator time means fuel consumption. We have time but we are limited in the fuel department.

We decided to dig out our cargo sled which was partly buried in snow and ice. In the process Margie whacked the top of it with the ice axe smashing a bit of timber. I whacked the sled runner at the back smashing if but fortunately it's not in a critical area of the runner so we'll still be able to use it. Yesterday we tried to build an igloo but the snow was too soft. We dug a snow cave into the side of a shallow hill. We struck solid ice on the floor. It's not a very big cave. We sealed it up because a blizzard started but we'll make it bigger when the blizzard stops. We plan to sleep in the cave for a few nights when it gets cold (back down to minus 30 I mean). We want to see what it would be like to really rough it. The drift is a lot less now but it still comes through all the cracks in the door when we shut it. Just a tiny pin prick will allow the drift in. In an hour or so almost a garbage bag full of drift will accumulate. We actually use the snow to plaster the cracks in the door. It acts like a filler and stops any more drift coming in.

We haven't seen the sun for some time. Theoretically it is under the horizon but in the middle of the day we have twilight and are able to see outside for a few hours. Our skin is really white because it hasn't seen the sun. Our hand are white as snow. They are always in gloves, they look really weird and I've never seen my hands so white before. I don't even have a watch mark on my arm any more. I haven't worn a watch since we got here.

We have had the moon for company since the sun has gone. The moon was full this week which gave us several days of great big moons from 2 p.m. until 10 a.m. One day there was very little wind, the moon was almost full right over Mawson's hut. It looked absolutely spectacular. All the best from us for a great Mid-Winter's Day. Thanks again for thinking about us and sending us cards.
Our address in Sydney is Expedition Ice-Bound P.O.Box 778, Mona Vale, NSW, AUSTRALIA.
One school in NSW received a visit from a writer for a computer magazine who was interested in this journal and what we are doing on the computer networks with you. Mary Ann in our office will be glad to help anyone who visits your school who is writing about Expedition Ice-Bound. Please tell them to ring her on (02) 9798530 or send her a fax if they would like more information on (02) 9798535. THIS JOURNAL IS PROUDLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY MCINTYRE MARINE SERVICES AND COMMUNICATING ADVENTURE
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