There hasn't been much going on in terms of the SPice drilling project. The start of the summer season for McMurdo and South Pole was delayed by about a week due to inclement weather which ultimately held up significant amounts of cargo. Hopefully by mid-week, we'll have received more of the cargo for our project.
In other news, I ventured outside yesterday - brr. We had to take part in snowmobile training and van training because our drilling site is about 3-4 miles away from the South Pole station and we'll be commuting to and from daily. Most of the vehicles used in Antarctica are 4x4 passenger vans that are retrofitted with larger snow tires or track tires (something like a bulldozer). They all have electrical plugs in the front to keep plugged in while the engine is off in order to keep the battery from becoming too cold. It is pretty amazing how "normal" equipment can be altered to work in such extreme conditions.
After the training, we took a brief tour of some of the facilities located on the back side of the station. There are some older buildings that are not really used anymore, but are still kept in case of emergencies - such as extra dorm rooms in case one of the flights is unable to return to McMurdo and we have to house an Air Force crew of 9-10 people. Most of the buildings are the old summer camp that was used during the construction of the new station that I'm currently calling home. One of the buildings was a recreation room with a rock wall!
I also got to see where the meteorologists launch the weather balloons twice a day. This upper air observations they get from these balloon launches is critical for forecasting flights in and out of the Pole. They launch at 10am and 10pm every day,and I may go out tomorrow morning and watch them launch.
After about 1.5 hours outside, we came back inside. Just that little bit outside did me in! It takes really about a full week to get acclimated to the altitude. In fact, yesterday we were well over 11,000 feet barometrically (i.e., a low pressure area of air had moved over us similar to how low and high pressure systems move across the U.S causing storms or sunny days).
For dinner last night, we had pasta - yummy. This included angel hair noodles, meatballs, your choice of marinara sauce, meat sauce or pesto sauce, garlic bread and a fresh salad. Of course there was dessert too - salted caramel pie. I instead had a chocolate chip cookie.
The night ended with some great socialization and a book on tape - "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" (Thanks, Scot Parker).
This morning I started the day off with some light yoga emphasizing stretching and breathing. Boy, did the breathing start to get hard when I was doing downward dog! Following yoga was a delcious brunch with fresh omelets, fruit and hash browns.
I then proceeded to watch "The Big Lebowski" since so many people have insisted that I watch it. Pretty amusing.
Well, that's really the extent of my excitement. Things should pick up here shortly once the drilling starts!
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Until next time,