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Mr. Pastirik's Daily Log 15 November 2005

McMurdo Station; Nov. 15, 2005
Clear, windy and cold today. Wind on the ice sheet this morning stings the ears, even in a cap and hood. My feet were invisible below the windy snow layer. The ice on the sea is more than 70 inches thick, but when I see these huge planes landing on the surface I wince. Long timers here say they can see the ice bend uner the landing plane. Not a pleasant thought. Mt. Erebus in the near distance fumes, but the white of the steam makes me think the fire within it is cold and not hot. It is a majestic mountain rich with snow fields and glaciers that looms over McMurdo. On Friday/Saturday will be my snow survival school relatively near it.

Working on the ANTCI webpage today.

Robert Falconer Scott's "hut" (pretty big actually) sits nearly pristinely at the edge of the station. His group was the second to reach the south pole (after Amundsen), but the first to perish on the way back. They died within eleven miles of relative safety. Not usually a superstitious person, I am finding myself postponing a close up viewing of it.

The crew is working on the Twin Otters. The scientists have been kind, and thorough in their efforts to make me understand their tasks. First flight in about a week. Lots of modifications to the plane are occuring. Holes, hoses, and devices extend from it in every direction.

Skua, large seagull like birds frequent the station. They eat anything, and will take food from unsuspecting human hands and prey on baby penguins. More reports of penguins in the area.

Today's after dinner discussion will be between the principal investigators and the pilots. Plans for the type, and duration of the twin otter's flights will occur. So much goes into making this expedition work.

Storms (not here) over a goodly portion of the continent have delayed research. Everyone hurrays to end up doing not much. I suppose that precious research time will be lost, or lots of long days will ensue.

Food is plentiful here. Eating is a priority. I suspect that it it gives everyone a chance to socialize. The aount of clothing people wear, and sometimes the shear isolation of the work people perform invites the camradery and friendship that surrounds food, etc. Pretty neat.

People seem to appreciate a teacher here and they take efforts to make me feel welcome, and included. Everyone takes care to minimize the Antarctic Crud. Crud is anything that makes one sick. Hand washing is a must.

The cast of characters is broad. Unusual hair color is not uncommon, and it is fun to find some colorfully coiffed person proceed on about their research in some high level science field to a person perhaps sweeping the floor and equally well coiffed.

Most of all, I am finding that education, hardwork, and a sense of adventure can take one far.

mp

Snow and Ice

Snow and Ice