Here is luci at her new part time job. She is the bartender at the “Coffeehouse”, our local wine cafe’. It is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) building on base. I know now, on account of the fact that I now work for maintenance, that it is also the most costly building in the program to maintain. It has one of the best ambiences on the base: dim lighting (nice when there is 24hr sunlight), wooden walls, a movie room, and LAN ports so you can connect your laptop and update your blog like I am doing at this very moment.
We both really like our new jobs. I have been able to see much more of the base than I have ever seen before since my department usually works behind the scenes to keep the base operational. Over the past couple of days I have been working on juice machines, primarily. With over 900 people currently on base and four meals a day served they see a lot of action. They are very compact and hard to work on but I have had two of them completely apart. Since the fresh water here is produced using reverse osmosis, it is very lacking in minerals and therefore, “very aggressive” and will corrode pipes. So, to help alleviate this problem they add calcium carbonate (I think) which, over time, accumulates in the line eventually breaking loose to clog up the screens and filters of juice machines and other appliances that either cool or heat water. The calcium deposits also help to coat the lead welds in some of the plumbing, reducing our heavy metal exposure. Luci is also enjoying her full time job, the greenhouse tech. She works on her own and gets to spend more time with plant life than anyone else on base.
We have both been busy with extra-vocational activities. Luci has been going to Yoga three times a week and has been training as bar tender. I spent the beginning of the week training as a Delta-Driver. Deltas a very large wheeled Naval land transport vehicles. The recreation department takes trips out to the historic monument of “Scott’s Cape Evans Hut”. They train volunteer drivers to make the two hour Delta drive there. We do our first trip on Wednesday. I also went to soccer yesterday. I don’t know if I am going to stick with it though; too tiring after a 10 hr workday. This weekend my friend Rob, who we met at the Boccalatte this summer, and I hiked the Castle Rock loop. It is a 7 mile loop that can be skied or hiked. He used cross country skis and I had a pair of snowblades that I was able to use in a couple of places. There is a lot less snow than there was last year. I thought about bringing my own snowboard but I am glad I didn’t as there is not much to be had nearby. When we arrived it was quite warm by Antarctic standards but the temperatures have become a bit more seasonable lately. Here are the current conditions at Mcmurdo from the weather underground. Pay particular attention to the sunrise and sunset times.
Mactown keeps getting busier and busier. On Monday, the South Pole workers arrived on their way south. The first two flights of the season left for the pole this morning and the relief for the people who wintered there will continue over the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow, I am sure we’ll start to see the pale Polies who wintered on their way back to the lands of warmth.