Back at McMurdo. Just like we never left. It has been a crazy couple of weeks. To top it off, my computer died. Luckily, I had the new hard drive from Hong Kong and a Ghost Image to recover my operating system. It did require the help from one of the computer Techs, Holly, in his spare time; of which I am grateful.
During our stay in CHC one of the C-17 flights down to the ice was turned around. They flew all the way down to McMurdo before the pilots decide the weather was too bad to land and that they were going to Boomerang. This backed up the flights and required some rearrangement of cargo and personnel. This meant that Luci and I flew down on separate flights. Then, Luci’s flight never left the ground and was delayed another day. When she finally got to McMurdo we discovered that we were not in the same room together. Not a total surprise since we had been tipped off by a contact in Housing. Still, there was nothing we could do about it since we have been labeled Transients on account of the fact we are staying in McMurdo less than three weeks.
We have been out-straight getting ready for our camp. There will be three camp staff this season at Siple Dome: Don Wray, the camp manager; Luci, and me. Siple is about 300 miles from McMurdo on other side of the Ross Ice Shelf. Despite its name, it is on the “Flat White”. Our primary function is a Fuel stop and staging area for a much larger camp that is being built on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and as an emergency landing site for the LC-130 Hercules Aircraft flying to the South Pole Station. But, we will have a couple of science groups using Twin Otter aircraft who will be based out of our camp. Our primary function at the camp will be to monitor weather for arriving aircraft, grooming the skiway, and fueling the planes when they arrive.
We are scheduled to put-in tomorrow. We have been spending much of our time in training sessions with any free time requisitioning food, parts and supplies for the roughly 100 days we’ll be out in the field. Not and easy task considering that Luci and I have never been out in the field before. Once we have all our stuff in a big pile we than have to process it all into the Cargo Handling system to make sure that it stays frozen or not frozen and that it makes it out to the camp when we need it the most.
The camp itself consists of a small structure called a Jamesway which looks like a small airplane hangar and a huddle of tents which are the sleeping quarters. We’ll be putting in with a carpenter, a fuelie, and a general assistant who will be spending the week helping us dig out the Jamesway and our heavy equipment and getting the fueling system set up. We will have a satellite phone with a data link so I should be able to keep the blog up. Wish us luck!
PS: check out some of my retro-posts from Thailand and China.