Archive for August, 2010

Spinning Yarn: New Boots! #22

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Part of our gear on the list is – would you believe – Rubber boots. We will need these when disembarking the Zodiac (inflatable boat) because it is not always guaranteed that we will touch dry land first. We may have to walk the boat in to shore. So rubber boots, with a decent tread on them is a necessary item.

 In winter when we were small, Mom used to out our socks and shoes on, a large pair of sock over the shoes, and then all of that into the snowboots – which were rubber. They had a special buckle on the side that opened out the throat of the boot, so you could get your foot into it. These are not available in Australia – I have not been to EVERY store, of course, just the outdoor specialist ones….Sigh.

 I need something for the snow next week at Hotham. So I tried a ski shop. Well, they have insulated rubber boots, but not high enough and certainly not enough room for socks and shoes. But …..they DID have some Salomon après ski boots: Rubber sole with tread, powder blue suede uppers, size 38, the last pair in the shop…

 They fit like a glove!

So – I am all kitted out for Hotham. I will pick up some tall rubber boots for Antarctica when I return.

Spinning Yarn: Shopping for Survival #21

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Two Hours. Three layers.

 That’s the time it took to choose the right gear for my survival in the frozen South. Thankfully, the people at Snowgum in Mitcham, Kelly in particular, were very helpful and patient, making sure of style, colour, and most importantly, fit. Oh, and quantity. How many of each top and pants would I need for the several days on land? What about a waterproof, windproof Jacket?

 Trying on the clothes and checking out the sizes was an experience. It confuses me how the manufacturing companies decide on their sizes – how can I be a size 14 in tops and pants for one company, a size 18 in Jacket in another? I did allow for layers of clothes under the jacket, so maybe that is the criteria….

 I did get very warm wandering around the store in Thermals, choosing the next item. Next week, I will wear the gear up at Mt Hotham, where I plan to spin in the Australian snow, as a dress rehearsal for spinning and for clothing!

Spinning Yarn: New Adventure #20

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

  The junk mail arrived today.

 Not normally one for going through all the pamphlets and flyers, I was surprised to have one of these catch my eye, the Snowgum one. Adventure clothing on sale at the end of winter! Wow!

 Orion Cruises has supplied a suggested clothing list, and they recommend three layers of insulating wear – exactly what is on sale in this catalogue! So I guess I will just have to go shopping.  Oh dear….  What a shame….

 The backpack I am taking was a gift from my son, bought for me when I did the Canada trip. He had said that I could do with a new bag, and I expected a bag to carry onto the plane, but no – he blessed me with a full size, gazillion litre, fully adjustable for the person who wears it, all the bells and whistles, huge, black and orange backpack. I guess he figured that I would use it more than once!

 There are now only 147 days left before I depart for Antarctica: plenty of time to fit in all my new gear. And the Blue Coat. (See #11)

Spinning Yarn: Glacial Conditions Pt2 #19

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

  The Athabasca Glacier shrank that year, as it sometimes does, because the warm of the short summer sun melts the surface of it quicker than the cold of the winter can put the snow back. So it was not my fault! (Good – I had picked up the dime, but had thrown it down a crack, like making a wish at the fountain; I did not want to be responsible for any untoward damage to any Glacier)

 That was one of the questions I asked the guide – are we hurting it, damaging it by being on here and leaving our (rubber) footprints?  He said not, but I cannot help but wonder if the combined warmth of our multiple feet was not melting the surface a bit faster than it would be naturally…

 The pressure of each layer of snow on the surface has an effect on the main body of the glacier. As each layer is added, the air trapped in the previous, older layers is squished out, leaving only water and the clearest of blue colour – the pure colour of pure water. Peeking way down in the cracks and crevasses, you can see the blue colour intensify deeper and deeper.

 Just as well I was not wearing Mom’s Blue Kuletuk – I would have disappeared! (See Post: The Blue Coat)

Spinning Yarn: Glacial Conditions Pt1 #18

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

  When I visited Canada a few years ago, on the way to Calgary, I took the bus to the Icefields to have a look at the Canadian Glaciers and glacial lakes. I had heard of the Athabasca region and National park and thought it could be spectacular.

 We drove to various sights along the way, reaching the Park in due course. And it was spectacular.

 The Glacier is huge, and you can visit it personally, on one of the ATVs there for the purpose. Following the tracks, and avoiding all the cracks and crevasses, you drive right up onto the main body, stopping at the top and disembarking for about 15 minutes – time enough to examine the surface of the living glacier.

 There were pockmarks, a thin depth of melted water and a fine film of rather coarse dirt on the surface, turning the once glaringly white ice to a dirty slushy brown mash. Stepping down from the ATV, I stood on a dime! (So I knew people had been here already!) Unexpectedly, our shoes and sneakers became quite wet, walking back to the vehicle.