Sunday, December 7, 2014

A quiet few days: December 6-8, 2014.

The last few days here haven't been too exciting--we've mostly been hanging around McMurdo. We ended up postponing our pressure ridge tour to sometime later this week or early next week, but I'll definitely put photos up of that once I do. We had our outdoor safety lecture on Saturday morning, so I'm finally able to (officially) start hiking around and going out on the trails around McMurdo. The Observation Hill Loop is pretty much the same as last time, and I'll probably start doing it regularly again if the weather is nice. Sunday the weather wasn't so great, but I still went out to Hut Point and saw some seals.
Discovery Hut Restoration
Hut Point is a bit different this year since there's an ongoing restoration of Discovery Hut. If you head out during the workday, like I did today, a few people from Scott Base are out there working. The hut looks a lot less cool with a couple containers and a bunch of equipment next to it.

Sunday night we went to the weekly science lecture in the galley. It was given by Ralph Harvey of ANSMET, who was on our flight down from Christchurch. They're going out into the field to hunt meteorites soon.

Erebus looked cool today.
Today, we went and did our Crary Lab walk-through, where we went over the safety precautions and everything we'll need to use Crary, even though we likely won't be around there very much. After that I went up to the Science Cargo office with Thomas to double-check the answer to a question he had about shipping our equipment home, and then Sean, Thomas, and I went out to the LDB site. We got to see a very cloudy view of Erebus and had a delicious chili lunch (Sean and Thomas also had smoked salmon. It's a harsh continent.). We rode back into McMurdo with two of the station chaplains, who had been out getting a tour of the LDB facility.

Hut Point and some other people that were there today
Once back in McMurdo, we did an inventory of the tools and other equipment that are sitting in the two shipping containers that we have. We set aside and recorded all the equipment that we plan to take out into the field, and then started thinking of things that we needed but did not have. We went back to the BFC to look at their snow shovels, but left with just a scale (since we'll need to weigh things in the field), since Thomas is going to pull the list of equipment they got from the BFC last year.

After that I went for a hike along the Hut Point Ridge/Arrival Heights trail. I stopped at Hut Point and watched the seals that were there for a little bit, and then went up the hill. I got a little bit above halfway before my path was blocked by a Skua. Since I was apparently not so close that the skua was reacting to me, I knew I was fine, but I couldn't go closer until it moved. I got a lot of very good close-up shots of the skua while I waited about 15 minutes for it to get out of my way. Eventually, it did, and I climbed the rest of the way up the hill. At the top, I was greeted by a view of McMurdo Sound, still almost entirely covered in sea ice. I walked along the ridge, and most of the way back into town (I got a ride down the hill from a couple of guys in a pickup that were working on top of the hill).
Skua, just hanging around.


McMurdo Sound

McMurdo Station
It looks like there will be a launch opportunity for COSI and the superpressure balloon tomorrow morning. They're going to be picked up by The Boss around 3am, and then potentially launch closer to 10. We're probably going to go out to Willy Field (as close as they'll let people be outside and watch) and take a look. I've been told to expect a new roommate tomorrow (my previous one left Saturday morning), so I'm glad I took the time over the weekend to re-arrange my room the way I had it two years ago.

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