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December 1, 2013

Crafts Fair, Helo Pad and Burger Bar

by Mary Tilton

Sundays are usually the only day of the week we don’t work, so today started like every other Sunday so far this season. We all slept in a bit, ate some brunch and went about our business for the first half of the day. For some of us that meant catching up on some work; for others it was taking time to relax or nap.

Early in the afternoon, I checked out the offerings at the Craft Fair, one of the highlights of the season. The talented people at McMurdo laid out their unique wares and sold them; their products representing weeks or months of work. Amongst the offerings of the Craft Fair were paintings, posters, drawings, jewelry, hair accessories, hats, gift boxes, zipper pulls, hand-pulled yarn, and headbands—a diverse selection of handmade goods.

Late afternoon came around, and we decided to go out the helicopter (helo) pad and take some samples. The helo pad is one of the areas we suspect has a good amount of soil contamination. This area is off limits to anyone not working in Helo Ops (Helicopter Operations), so we had to acquire special permission to take samples, and we made sure to do it on a day when helos don’t fly. This time I got to operate the GPS and walk around in circles in an attempt to find the location of the next site. These instruments are touchy because they’re so accurate, so just one large step in the right direction could be a step too far. The whole process took about 45 minutes, so after we were done, we headed back to the office to package the samples and put them in the freezer.

At dinnertime we all headed to Gallagher’s Club for Burger Bar, an “event” that only happens a few times during the season when residents can get really inexpensive burgers and fries at the bar. By the time we arrived (about 6:50 p.m.), there were already several people waiting in line to place their orders. At 7:00 orders were taken and burgers and fries started zipping out of the kitchen. Before long, I had my delicious burger and fries and a drink in hand.

We all sat for a bit and decided we would go to this week’s science lecture by Jynne Dilling Martin, our resident poet/artist who recently published an article in Slate Magazine about some of her experiences in Antarctica. Her article can be found here and her tumblr page is here.

After a somewhat relaxed day, we all went our separate ways for the evening. Tomorrow, we venture out to Cape Bird for some more sampling (another helo trip), and to see some penguins!

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