I apologize to all of you who follow my blog for not keeping it updated. It has been hard work getting over the hump out here and now we are more than half-way through. On the subject of leaving…now, with a light at the end of the tunnel it seems like everyone’s spirits have lifted with the prospect of getting the &*%$ out of here. We are coming up on a very bust time with science trying to finish up their projects, the arch finishing up theirs Distinguished Visitors trying to catch a ride out here for “inspections” all while we are trying to inventory and prepare for close-out. The carpenters are supposed to come out Thursday to start taking down tents and transition us back to winter mode. I have my own little project to deal with in the meantime. I discovered a small leak in one of our fuel bladders. Nothing serious but the Fuel department thinks that it should be changed out before winter snows bury it and over-stress the seam making a minor leak a major one. So this is going to involve a major excavation of the bladder. While we are digging it out we figured we might as well raise it above surface level before filling the new one. The first step of course is to drain the old bladder which I have been working on the past few weeks.
We have had the DC-3 Bassler around for the past week. It has been shuttling people and materials back and forth between WAIS and the nearby Byrd Camp. They are closing the camp down and a lot of the retro material will go back to McMurdo via our camp. This has meant a lot of extra work for all of us during an already busy time. But it has also mean that I have been able to dole out a great portion of the fuel in the bad bladder to the plane that consumes over a thousand gallons to fly to McMurdo one-way. I estimate that we only have a thousand or so gallons left. Enough that I could start pumping it out into drums.
Our last science groups should be in and out this week and the project coordinator is down from Denver to assess how successes and shortcomings of the field season. Luci and I have made our travel plans and are looking forward to getting out of here. We are planning a kayak trip with my brothers Joel and Jesse in NZ before moving on to Japan (hopefully to ski) and SE Asia before making our way back to Italy. There are various pull-out scenarios being thrown around. One has all but four of us leaving on a Herc in the first days of Feb with the rest leaving by Twin-Otter a few days later. Another has us all leaving by Bassler the way we came in. Who stays and who goes in the first scenario is still up for debate but I have (ironically) volunteered to stay as long as possible so I can put my babies to sleep for the winter.