Friday, October 28, 2005
posted 10/28/2005 12:46:00 PM UTC+12, McMurdo Local Time

Checking in

Hey everyone! Been pretty busy over the last few days, so I haven't had a chance to write too much. Things have been going pretty well - lots of work and a fair amount of play too! The season is really starting to get rolling now, we've been doing fuel transfers pretty much every day, and several of the fuelies have been in and out getting to various field locations and the south pole station. Since the sea ice under the runway isn't very thick this year, we haven't been able to fill up our ice runway fuel tanks to full capacity, which is in turn forcing us to refil them every day now. Filling the runway tanks requres a few hours and five people, so between that and several other jobs we're getting a little stretched for people. The upside of doing a lot of runway transfers is that I've been able to work out on the ice a lot, and drive our snowmobile quite a bit! We use the snowmobile to inspect the soft fuel line as we're doing a transfer in case it starts leaking or whatever - it's a very important job, but pretty fun too! The other thing that's been taking up a fair amount of my time is helping to get ready for laying a hose from near Scott Base out to Willy Field next week.

Away from work, the station has been gearing up for Halloween! We had a really cool haunted house over in one of the warehouses yesterday, which was a blast. A lot of people have been working on their costumes, but fortunately I have one done already (simple thing - came from a thrift store in chch.) Also went bowling for the fuelie bowling team, which was a blast although I'm not very good at it. Have moved to a smaller dorm, and this one has a window! Can't think of anything else off the top of my head, so that's all for now - I'll try to post here more often in the future!

Matt marshalling a spool of hose onto it's base


Q:What kind of warning system do you have for these big storms, if any? -Catherine
A:We've got a weather department down here that keeps track of what's going on and does their best to let us know what the weather will be doing before it happens. If the weather department is predicting bad stuff approaching, it gets broadcasted out over the radio so that everyone knows what's happening. Unfortunately, we don't have a bunch of weather monitoring stuff away from the station, so sometimes there isn't too much warning when the weather starts to change. One thing that's really neat about the location of McMurdo Station is that we can see for a long way in the direction that the storms usually come from, so we can just look out over the sea ice and see whether it's clear out there, or if there's a big cloud of blowing snow indicating winds approaching. Realistically, the biggest problem with storms is cleaning up the blown snow afterwards. If you're around base, you just sit inside and wait them out, or you wait in a vehicle if you happen to be outside when something happens.

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