We went back to the L2 site in our distributed network. Helicopter ride as usual. Touchdown and then it is a flurry of activity offloading all the equipment out of the back with the rotors still going. Turbulent winds, snow blowing all around. Lifting out heavy boxes, safety gear, our toolkit. Once the helicopter lifts off, it is again silent. Beautifully so. But today there was no time to enjoy the silence. Or the stars. Apparently some others had seen the stars and asked me about them out at this remote site with no light pollution….. truthfully, I didn’t look. Dave and I just had so much work to get done that it was “stay on target” for the whole 3+ hours while on the ground. Started with setting up a tent. At -30C with wind,  these were not the conditions to mess around with. So we set up a little fishing tent…. Pain in the neck, but we eventually got it standing. Then set to work on all of the fixes, re-installations, cable runs, maintenance activities, etc, etc. Things actually went quite smoothly. Hardest part was possibly getting all of the snow out from inside the box….. And of course all the little finger work. Connecting cables, disconnecting little nuts and bolts. The hands got very cold a number of times. It is one of those things where you know you have the means to get warm again, so you let fingers get deeply cold. Then take the time to step back from the edge…. Then dive right in again. I had hand warmers, one in each pocket, and my big mitts, covering thin silk liners. Amazing how quickly the time passes in high intensity situations like this, working fast at a checklist of tasks, then calling in the helicopter for a ride home. In the heli it felt great… mostly in a mission accomplished kind of way (we got word from our colleague back at the ship that our station was now transmitting data again). But also exhausted, and a bit cramped in the tight space in the back….. Head resting against the window, lulled into a peaceful state, kind of like when I was a kid riding in a car with the bumps of the road. A good day’s work, and now L2 is  alive again.

The helicopter heads to one of the distributed network sites. Alfred-Wegener-Institut / Stefan Hendricks (CC-BY 4)

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