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13 December, 2002

Hello Site 2p

Date: 12/13/02

Latitude: 83=B0 30' 02.81" S

Longitude: 104=B0 59' 12.73" W

Time of Observations: 11:30 PM local time

Temperature: -25 C / -13 F

Wind speed: 22 knots

Wind Chill: -41 C / -42 F

Wind direction: East Northeast

Meters of ice collected: 189 m

By Dan Dixon

It has been a long and bumpy ride, but it has taken significantly less time than expected. It took us a total of 28 hours at approximately 9 km/h (including way point and refueling stops) to reach Site 2. We traveled a total distance of 177 km and went up 240 m in elevation. We are now camped at approximately 2000 m above sea level. At our present location the average temperature is considerably cooler than at Site 1, this is mostly due to our increased elevation. As elevation increases, the average temperature decreases (the wind chill does not help matters much either). Hopefully, the wind will calm down by morning and make our work more enjoyable. In subzero temperatures like these it is relatively easy to protect yourself from the cold, but it is much more difficult to protect your entire body from a 22 knot wind.

As we set off from Site 1 yesterday morning, the skies were clearing, the sun was shining, and the Whitmore Mountains were just coming into view. It was yet another quintessential Antarctic day, absolutely perfect. The mountains were a parcticularly nice change to the usual scenery in which white cloud meets white horizon with no parcticular boundary, a bit like being on the inside of a white ball. Initially, the topography here seemed to be completely flat, but as we progressed on our journey we noticed the mountains on the horizon disappearing and reappearing again and again. Upon closer inspection of the GPS elevation data it was apparent that we were traveling over subtle hills and bowls, as well as gradually gaining height. For most of the day the sun was shining so intensely that the sparkling snow surface seemed alive, as if millions of tiny little flashbulbs were going off at every moment. To relieve some of the boredom of the journey, several of the ITASE crew decided to do a bit of blue-room roof riding. This didn't last long however, as the biting cold and wind drove them all back into the shelters for warmth. Most of the crew hasn't the time to get bored because the driving, radar, and GPS shifts.

Tonight, we shall all sleep like logs and with a little bit of luck we shall awaken to another glorious morning.

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