Life in MacTown
Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
20Trip End Mar 31, 2011
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Never go outside without a hat and gloves no matter how 'warm' it might look
Never pass up an opportunity to get completely bundled up in your ECW gear
Just when you think you have a routine, it will change
Make friends with the scientists
Leave the building at least once a day
Staying up until 2 in the morning is worth it if you get to see it as dark as it will ever be for the next 5 months
When the Kiwis invite you to their base, go
When your boss says, "I need a volunteer!" its not necessarily a good idea to say yes...
There is truly never a dull moment in McMurdo. There are so many opportunities here it is almost too much.
This past Sunday I got the awesome chance to dive tend for the scientists. I played piano in the morning for the church service, and was about to get on the computer to send some emails when my friend Wesley came up to me saying, "you have 30 minutes to get in your ECW and be back done here. We're going dive tending." I didn't ask too many questions and went to change immediately. We met the divers at the dive locker and began loading their tanks, suits and science equipment into the 'Tucker.' All 6 of us then crammed into the strange orange vehicle to head out to the sea ice. I got to know the scientists quickly, as I was literally sitting on their laps on the way over. The equipment took up a lot of space and we had to cram into what was left over. It was about a 10 minute ride out to the tomato where we spent the next 4 hours. We unloaded all the gear and put it into the 'tomato.' We then chipped the ice that had frozen over the pre drilled hole and sifted out the chunks. As the divers put their gear on we were there to hand them their gloves, etc. They described themselves as 'helpless' when they have their hoods on. Watching them jump into the ice hole 20 feet thick was a little claustrophobic for me. As you'll see in the pictures it wasn't a very large hole, and was solid ice for 20 feet. Once they reached the bottom, they were taking core samples to study the affect the sewage plant has on the ecology. Apparently they didn't used to be so environmentally conscious here and dumped raw sewage straight into the ocean
Last Thursday we went to the neighboring Kiwi base. It is about a 5 minute shuttle ride away and has a completely different view of Antarctica. It is on the other side of 'Ob Hill,' which obstructs most of the view on Ross Island. They open up their store and pub to Americans one night a week. Their base is significantly smaller than McMurdo, is all painted an pistachio green and is entirely connected by above ground tunnels. It also seemed to be a lot less windy on the other side of the hill...sounds like the Kiwis knew what they were doing.
On Saturday night I celebrated my friend Jessica's 30th birthday on 10/10/10 (which you'll notice adds up to her age and will every year for the rest of her life...fun fact!). I ended up staying up until 2 am to watch the sun go down as far as I'll see it the rest of the time I'm here. It wasn't very dark, but it sure was beautiful.
Work is going well so far, and I'm finally getting the hang of it. The tasks aren't very hard but there is a lot to remember. I can already see the work taking a toll on my body as they have been warning us about since we got here. My favorite part of the day is our 2 15 minute stretch breaks. We also do cryogenic therapy which helps the muscle aches that come with scrubbing pots and dishes for hours a day
I spend most of my life in the galley. Yesterday, for example, I went to eat breakfast at 5:30am, started work at 6am, got off at 4pm, came back for dinner at 6pm, left to do laundry around 7pm, and came back to play a card game with friends at 8pm until 9:30pm. The majority of my waking hours were spent there.
I uploaded photos on my last post of condition 2 weather. Its the most exciting weather we've had thus far, so of course we went out in it. Check out the video and photos!
Whew. Well that is just a taste of what has been happening here so far. If you have any specific questions for me feel free to send me an email and I'll try and blog about it. There is so much happening in MacTown!