King George Island is an amazing place with a lot of great views and places. Not all are accessible for everyone. It is mostly protected area and you need special permission to enter these. Permissions are granted to those who are doing work there, either logistical or research. Our group has access to the glacier where just a few can go. Glaciers can be dangerous if you are not careful and you don't know how to move in it. There have been several accidents in the past, and since it is a remote place, the possibilities to encounter such emergencies are few. On the part where we have most of our installations, it is quite secure to move around. We do this with skidoos that are parked at the border of the glacier during the summer.
We use them to go to our climatological stations and other installations, and we do Differential GPS (DGPS) measurements to assess the glacier surface elevation and topography. There are not many maps of this area and since glaciers always change, this is important information. Those measurements are used as ground truth information for remote sensing analysis for example. It is not often we have such a nice day as in the pictures here! The pictures are all from the overwinterer Martín Gingins, since my picture SD card is still in Carlini and will come to Germany somewhere in April. But this is another story for later ;)
This day we were doing the kinematic grid with the DGPS to assess surface elevation and also did the measurements of a rock outcrop that appeared on the glacier due to the melting about four years ago. It is amazing how much bigger this outcrop has become and we mapped it again this year to identify and verify the satellite data. It is also in a nice setting very close to the crevices field of the Fourcade glacier calving front, so while doing work you get rewarded with mind-blowing views of the cracked glacier ice.
It is also very close to the coastal waters of the cove and you have to be very careful, not to slip if you want to avoid a huge slide and a dive into the cove's cold water.
So, although our days are full of work it is work in an amazingly beautiful place with different views at every turn you take. Every day is different, and besides the diversion at the station, that includes Pizza and Beer night on Saturday's and a Boliche, a dance night in the Cinema barack, for me it is the right balance between the adventure of being outside testing yourself in this environment, the scope of your work and the perspective of the science we do, all the more important, since the changes in this place are visible to the regular visitor's eye on a year to year basis.
It is indeed a really nice work-life balance, although afterwards you definitely need to take a few days to recover ;) ...