Archive Page 2

Smiley Face

C-17 and Erebus

Snowed in Loo

So I go to take a shower and notice the shower curtain is not swinging open.  A good-n-hard early morning dis-gruntled yank breaks the curtain free only to reveal that last night’s shower splash has frozen into little droplets.  I stop to listen and yes, I can hear the flagging flapping in the wind outside the window.  With hopes that the pipe is also not frozen, I blast the floor with hot water from the shower head.  Ahhhh….now I can start my morning.

So Mainbody is here.  The galley is a source of stress for some of us who had grown accustomed to the easy pace of WINFLY.  We have gone from “which table do I want to sit at” to “is there space anywhere?!?”  Thankfully the time seems to be screaming by.  Its a lot like Bill Murray’s Groundhogs Day; Same people asking the same questions with the same answers; usually “….No” and the Galley food is back on rotation.  Saturday night is Italian night and every 13 days its Basque Chicken and Tuna Melts.  Think this year I am losing weight out of sheer boredom.

http://thistle.org/pcam is a link for a “penguin cam” that you might be able to catch some “live penguin action” on as the penguins return to the rookery near the hut.

In other Antarctic factoid, our annual sea ice runway is 74″ thick.  It can support the C-17 fully loaded (519,000 lbs) and still have 60,000 to spare.  This means we can get more cargo on per flight which is a good cost savings and means there is more opportunity for the mail and freshies! Waiting to sink my teeth into an apple!

That’s the scoop from la-la land today….. Cheers!

Environmental Boondoggle

Mt. Erebus and Castle Rock

Kodiak Snow Blowers

Sea Icescape

Rewarding view

Finally a chance to get off station after a hectic few opening weeks!!  One of our SAR team members was out putting some hours on one of the Tuckers and noticed some barrels that have become evident on the hillside on the Castle Rock recreation loop.  Being the only “Environmental” person on station, I declared a need for some remediation efforts.  With the help from some of the folks from the Waste department (yes…garbage men and women in Antarctica) and the Field Safety guru, we loaded chippers, sledges and shovels into a Piston Bully and off we went to re-claim the drums.  The buggers were obviously frozen in many years of ice.  Looks like they had been welded together to form a giant “deadmans” anchor.  We ignored the blowing nip at our cheeks and stayed plenty warm swinging away at the ice until we were finally able to pry the whole thing loose.  Once the drums were loaded on the sledge, we took a second to look over the ridge and north across the sea ice and the setting sun.  Always a site to behold.

Yes, the sun is making its way back.  I now get straight sunlight in my back office window for a few mintues a day as it passes through a saddle between the hills.  The runway and cargo apron are out of the shadows of the hills so they are ahead of schedule.  The Kodiak snow blowers continue shooting plumes of snow and the graders follow to shape the loosened ice and snow into rows for pushing.

The view from the office is nice and reminds us that “craziness is coming” starting October 2nd.

Enjoy the pics.  Also included is a view of Castle Rock and the worlds southern most active volcano, Mt. Erebus. (yeah, sorry Mom, forgot to mention that we share the island with an actively smoking, open magma pool volcano)

“The solar flare ate my ATM card!”

C-17 Cargo plane

Fire truck

Cargo Delta

Well, not really ate it but indirectly denied my request for some beverage money.  As with all small nuiances here on the ice, solar flares do cause some moments of inconvenience.  Since our communications systems are satellite based, the occasional helious flare does present a slight delay or interupption.  I had recevied the warnings in the e-mail about internet disruptions happening around noon and such but was not thinking about it. On my way to the galley, I realized that I actually had my wallet on me and thus my ATM card. Yes, ATM in McMurdo, 2 in fact. (ones is a backup) So as I am reqesting funds, the card is a no go and panic sets in for a second in that my trusty piece of plastic has finally bit the dust, in Antarctica, and there are no planes for at least a month. That means no cash…which means…GASP!…no Saturday nights out.  Oh the injustice!  In sheer desperation, I re-insert the card and low and behold, a connection was made!  Rising from my penetant position, I collected my larger than normal disbursement and headed for lunch.

Life is odd at times, perceptions and priorities change while I am here.  Some things which may be odd to all of you would hardly earn the bat of an eye after a while.  So as I thought of what’s weird about living here, one happened to drive by. (referring to the vehicle but the occupants were not too far off either)  Above are a few pictures of strange vehicles in Antarctica and a plane that lands on a runway made of ice.  That sounds safe….

Enjoy!  I am going to run to dinner before this ramshackle of a building/ office heaves again in the wind.

Ryan

Night Sky

Auroas and the HagglundRed Eclipse, Auroras and McMurdoOur dark night is rapidly losing its grasp on the antarctic sun.  Everyday sees earlier gains in daylight and longer sunsets.  No actual sun just yet but its coming quite soon.  The alpenglow on the distance Royal Society mountain range is enough to stop me in my tracks and endure the sharp sting on my cheeks for just a wee longer.

South Pole EclipseTimelapseRecently was a trip to see the lunar eclipse that occurred from our southern vantage point.  I had all intentions of watching it but McMurdo local was socked in with cloud and town “vapor” not to mention that it was exceeding my normal bedtime after the gym.  A number of people were able to take a Recreation Dept. sponsored Hagglund trip out to the sea ice and see the eclipse without all of the light and cloud pollution from town.  As a special treat, the last probable auroras decided to make a grand show of their departure.  Included are pictures from the trip, photographer unknown.  Robert Schwartz, a perennial South Pole winter scientist and renowned antarctic photographer, took a time lapse shot at pole of the eclipse.  More of his work can be seen at his website at the bottom of his picture.

A small taste of some the bits of magic that Antarctica has to show.

Cheers,

Ryan

WINFLY Once Again

Winfly sunrise/sunset

Its another blustery morning out here on the Ross Ice Shelf.  WINFLY typically has some of the major weather patterns of the year as the continent starts to “warm”. 

Settling back into station life, finding my stash of boxes with all the niceties.  This year I splurged more than usual and sent of a number of comfort items including an espresso machine and a back up frothing wand just in case; an ultrasonic humidifier, a thick tempurpedic mattress pad to even out the ridges and lumps and finally a big comforter.  Its all about recovering from the frenetic work week pace.  It is a harsh continent after all…

Sitting at the breakfast table this morning with a number of past winter-overs, I had to asked that it was indeed 2007 as I was experiencing waves of deja-vu of last winter here in MCM.  Nice to have some friendly and familiar faces this season, though it is my version of Bill Murray’s “Groundhogs Day”.

Hopefully I can figure out a better picture posting system.  The majority of pictures will be from our common share drive and I will let you know which talented photographer to praise and credit.  I have seen some fantastic photos of aurora and Iridium flares and expect to see some of the upcoming lunar eclipse.

Time to move on with more of today’s scheduled activities.

Take care and enjoy the warm sun!
Ryan

Weather for today:
Winds at 28 knots; +0F w/ wind-chill at -36F
Sunrise @ 10:00 and Sunset @15:30

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