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Contractors World - International Vol 4 No 3
“With the expedition starting today, I would
like to extend my own personal support to the
ice team, as well as that of everyone at Finning.
We’re confident that the extensive training and
experience of our engineers on the expedition,
combined with the quality of the Cat D6Ns,
will make the expedition a success. We look
forward to welcoming the team back following
their completion of this exciting and ambitious
expedition.”
The Journey Begins
Along with this article are the very latest videos from Antarctica just prior to and the official start as the equinox
occurs. The clock is now ticking and the race is on.
Telephone conversations with the team say that there are no real issues that they did not anticipate but they
cannot hide their frustration at the delays caused by the intensity of the white out conditions that repeatedly cover
the machines which then have to be dug out and the engine compartments ‘cleaned’ prior to moving on.
Quoting from the official Finning Engineers blog, “The Cat’s have become difficult to start. Morning temperatures
have fallen to -20°C and normally this wouldn’t be enough to effect staring. When we were in Sweden we were able
to start the machine as low as -30°C virtually problem free. I guess that is the effect of being 2.5 km above sea
level and trying to burn jet fuel in a diesel engine. One of the main problems at the moment is that when we run
the Wabasto to warm the various machine fluid reservoirs, it fools the D6N into thinking it’s warm when it isn’t.
This causes it to disable the ether starting aid. As I spent a lot of Finning’s money buying 96 spare bottles, I need
to figure out a way to activate this start aid manually. But dealing with problems like this are the exact reason that
myself and Richmond are on the expedition.”
The modification of the battery boxes to hold 4 instead of 2 batteries along with the replacement of the OEM
batteries with Odyssey GSM dry cell, deep cycle batteries, will be the saving grace to this problem. I have spent 20
minutes cranking over a D6 and suffered no loss in voltage - absolutely amazing.
There is also the disappointment that the team leader and originator for the expedition, Sir Ranulph Fines, had
to return due to an unfortunate accident which cause frost bite to his hands. However, the fact that he is not with
them in body, has increased their determination to succeed.
The videos at this time show the team having the benefit of daylight but soon the sun will fall below the horizon
for several months when the only light will be from the various phases of the moon. Sometimes, total darkness.
These are the coldest times and the most challenging because of the short visibility and extreme conditions.
Seeing is Believing
The Coldest Journey is being undertaken as one of the last remaining challenges but also to raise money to
provide the necessary funding, equipment and specialists to provide often very simple procedures to give people in
developing countries their sight back.
Sight is one of the most precious things
we have and most of us take it for granted.
Imagine life without it. Make a donation
now.
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