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November 21, 2013

A Day of Recovery

by Andrew Klein

Andrew's head

Today the B-518 crew had chance to recover after three very successful days of diving. The day was spent on various tasks in Crary Science Laboratory and other locales on station.

At eight a.m., Terry, Steve and your faithful commentator met with the divers and other ASC personnel for a conference call to discuss plans for sampling at Palmer Station. The divers then took off to collect water samples at Cape Evans and visit the Scott’s historic Terra Nova Hut. Sadly, the three B-518 team members simply hiked back up the hill from the Dive Locker to Crary.  You can take a virtual tour of the Crary lab in this video produced by the SCINI project.

The rest of the team’s morning was mainly spent organizing upcoming field activities in the next two weeks as our work transitions from studying the marine environment to the terrestrial (land) environment. Snowmobile training was scheduled for next week. The crew met with Susie Lyons in the helicopter hanger to discuss the team’s helicopter (often shortened to helo here at McMurdo) flight requirements for the season. Hopefully the team will be able to visit all our study sites that require helicopter support.
Your faithful commentator filled out the helo request forms that are needed to request a helicopter trip.  The forms request various information such as the destination(s), the ground time at each destination, the weight of all passengers and cargo as well as the date of travel. The requests are examined and a schedule is produced.  Now all the B-518 team can do is wait and see when we appear on the flight schedule

The afternoon brought more work in Crary lab. The team members handled some issues with their science supplies, organized the lab and office a little bit and got down to the hard work of bringing this blog up-to-date.  The team also had the opportunity to talk to old friends and meet a few new ones as we worked in the lab.

Despite not being out in the field, most team members felt a bit exhausted by the day’s activities. While Steve decided to have an early night, Terry, Mary and I decided to visit Scott Base – New Zealand’s Antarctic scientific station which is located about two miles from McMurdo. If you are interested in the current conditions at Scott Base, please check out their webcams or you can check this site out to get a panaromic view of the station.  

Scott Base is much smaller than McMurdo with a maximum population of approx. 80 and has a much different layout as all the buildings are connected so once you are inside you do not have to leave. Because McMurdo’s population is so much larger, USAP personnel are only allowed in the Scott Base Store unless they have an invitation. Thursday nights are the exception and McMurdo folks are allowed to visit the Base and its famous bar – The Tatty Flag

Scott Base, AntarcticaScott Base, Antarctica

Scott base distancesScott Base is a long way from anywhere

Mary Tilton at Scott base signMary Tilton and Scott Base's New Signage

Dr. Klein at Scott Base signYour commentator says Gig'em

L&P and Pineapple bitsYour commentator shows off L&P and pineapple lumps. 
He later purchased a couple of bags of Party Mix a popular candy of the team.

the Tatty FlagThe Tatty Flag

Mary and Dr. Klein at Scott BaseMary and your commentator enjoying some well deserved relaxation

So Mary and Andrew grabbed the first shuttle to Scott Base at 6:30 pm to do a little shopping at one of the two retail establishments on Ross Island; the store is not large (perhaps 10 x 20 feet) but is well stocked with Antarctic themed items and popular New Zealand food stuffs.  Terry followed with our diving friend Martin on the next shuttle and the four met in the Tatty Flag for some relaxation. Afterwards the four walked the 1.5 to 2 miles back to McMurdo Station as it was a relatively warm and wind-free evening. Sadly your commentator had to leave early as he had to teach a class at Texas A&M classes at 2 am…the wonders of the internet.  But it was a fun time for all in a really warm and inviting place.

Ross Island Wind FarmThe Ross Island Wind Turbine Farm

McM signWelcome back to McMurdo Station