Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Device of the Day-Mico Brake

If you want to get around Mactown, you’re going to end up riding in some pretty awesome rigs.  Check out the NSF Ford 350 Vans in town sporting monster tires for buoyancy on the roads to keep them from tearing up the sea ice roads.  Not a bad way to get to work.  They also use a pretty neat little device called a Mico brake.  Since factory parking brakes can freeze up and fail, the Antarctic folks use these hydraulic parking brakes.  Its just a simple check valve that prevents brake fluid from de-pressurizing once the brake has been been engaged sort of like a line lock on a race car without a solenoid.  And look at those cute little trailers.

Condition 2

The flight from NZ to McMurdo took about 7 hours including 1 hour of holding to make our descent into Mactown (The had to wait for the weather to clear).  C 117s ride like Cadillacs.  I spent most of yesterday and today getting settled in my dorm and doing various training (this town is like Science camp for adults, really really awesome).  We came across a seal that had most likely been in a fight because it was bleeding (not seriously, but noticeable).  It looks like a frozen sausage.

It was condition 2 out on the sea ice.  Condition 2 means one or more of the following conditions have been met:

  • Sustained wind speed 48 knots to 55 knots
  • Wind chill temperature -75°F (-60°C) to -100°F (-73°C)
  • Visibility 1/4 mile to 100 feet

Holy !@#$, Im in Antarctica

Mazda Turbo Bongo

I first saw these rigs in Japan and as it turns out they are available in NZ as well.  Another small turbo diesel 4×4 with a bed, seating up to 8, portable gas stove, fridge, outdoor table and chairs.



Some Stuff I Learned about New Zealand

-Calling a New Zealander a Kiwi is not derogatory.  I thought it might be.  Turns out its totally acceptable.

-Bathing suits are also known as togs or costumes-I rented one today, didn’t know you could do that either

-Its early spring here right now, the equivalent of April in the states

Toyota Hilux

New Zealanders have got it figured out as far as trucks are concerned.  Check out the Toyota Hilux, a 4WD 2.8 L diesel with a crew cab.  Nice rig, real nice rig.  Dependable, rugged, old and awesome.  This beauty here is a 1990.

What the What!?

3:47 AM Monday morning: Ice flight delayed, storms at McMurdo.  Turns out we had a whole day to kill in NZ. Could be worse.

We stopped at a local distillery.  Turns out they make some of the worlds finest gin.

Drove north up to Hanmer Springs

Hung Out in the Thermal Pools

And Pretty much had a good time

Never let your guard down.  Honey bees are everywhere.  I didn’t see any though.

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