The Cape Evans Delta trips began today. Last Wednesday, all the other Delta drivers and I went out on the 1 ½+ hr drive out as a training trip to the hut that Scott built as his support base for his South Pole bid. The inside of the hut is preserved almost exactly as Scott’s men left it c.90 years ago with the shelves still stocked with supplies. It was beautiful weather and the road was in the best condition it has been in years and there were great views of smoking Erebus and the Barne Glacier. The road conditions are bound to change as the season progresses. The first trip I lead is on the 18th of November. There
Today is Sunday which means a day off, brunch and the second issue of the Antarctic Sun. Despite the fact that it is my day off I spent some time n the shop. I had to rebuild our humidifier; an essential apparatus for Antarctic life. I am still enjoying work though last week there were some ups and downs, mostly involving paperwork. The paperwork involved in our job is unbearable. Every moment of our day has to be documented with a number. We have a handful of papers listing the numbers for various activities that one may encounter during the day. S109zz for example is the number for all hands meetings. Yesterday I only got in about 4 hours of actual work because of safety meetings trainings and other such business. In order to attract people to all-hands-meetings they have started having trivia and other such games with prizes. Yesterday they had this musical chairs type game involving yoga balls. The idea was to bounce this ball around the Galley until the music stopped and the last person holding the ball won a prize. They were about two minutes into the game when the Safety Guy came over and whispered into the Station Manager’s ear and the game promptly stopped. But that is just life here at McMurdo and no one really expected the game to go on very long.
My biggest disappointment of the week though was when I was told that I couldn’t try-out for the Search and Rescue team because I was not wintering over. It was a real bummer because I had already been chosen to try out and had a date set. But things got better yesterday at our morning safety meeting when our foreman declared that a “new directive has come down from Denver”, which is a phrase that usually strikes fear into the hearts of most USAP workers. Usually directives from Denver mean a new policy that makes perfect sense to office workers at the Denver HQ but are quite often not suited to the Antarctic environment. But this directive was welcomed my me because it said that all those wishing to try out for the SAR team should be allowed to do so. The day got better when I received written commendations from both my foreman and his boss for my part in saving base operations by fixing the Gasboy. The Gasboy is a fuel pump used to fill up all out vehicles. The one I fixed was the only one we have to pump gasoline and without it many operations cease.