posted 12/20/2005 12:53:00 PM UTC+12, McMurdo Local Time
This morning things went well and we successfully completed the pigging operation. Ended up having to strap the line out to ice runway because it had drifted in over the weekend, but that went super smoothly. I ended up driving the Pisten Bully doing the strapping, but unfortunately it was our bully that has a passenger compartment on the back instead of the cool loaner one we had with a flat bed and an articulated boom... Things went well either way and we got done with the strapping at about the same time that the pigging crew was ready to do their thing - good timing! Wasn't directly involved in the pigging operation unfortunately, ended up getting things together for rolling up the hose and taking care of some smallish tasks around town. After lunch we started staging stuff for rolling up the hose tomorrow, basically gathering together a bunch of tools and parts, loading them into various vehicles. We somehow managed to forget about loading these electric motor/gearbox units onto the reel bases before we drug the bases out onto the ice. That turned out to be a little bit of a pain since we had to load the power units one at a time onto banana sleds and drag them out to the trailer by hand and then load them - also by hand. Heavy, awkward work.
Did get to see a Weddell Seal at fairly close range, which was interesting. The seals barely move when they're on land, so they're kind of boring to watch - just big lumps of fat with a fur coating basically. The second LDB launch happened yesterday evening, which I also missed. Did get to see the balloon from town as it drifted skyward, kind of neat. The balloon launch had a bit of a problem though, so the team was forced to send the 'self destruct' command to the balloon and drop the payload from about 80,000 feet up and 80 miles from town, with a parachute, but nobody seems to know whether the payload will be relaunchable yet. Big bummer for the science team that was behind the launch obviously. There's a neat page about CREAM over here including a link to a live map of where the balloon is. No plans for tonight other than to get more sleep than I have in the last few days...