Monday, November 5, 2012

a week on base

We have officially been in McMurdo for a week now. We are scheduled to leave for the field this Saturday morning (Friday there) The current time here is about 11:45am on Tuesday but I know its about 5:45pm on Monday night there.... Its like Im posting to the past hahahah There has been a lot to do scientifically speaking since we got here in preparation for the field but we also had a lot of training sessions and such. My first two days were happy camper which you've already read about. Other than that we had to have survival training, recreational travel training, training for computer usage, training for how to get food, how to get supplies, how to pack the helicopter etc.... Yesterday we did a "food pull" which meant Jenna, Rachael and I went into this makeshift store looking place and went "shopping" for all the food we would need for the field... Surprisingly there were a lot of options to choose from. They have better food than I have at home sometimes hahah We can get all the cookies, chips, dried or canned veggies and fruits that we want. We can have shrimp, chicken, pork, beef, just about anything you can imagine. We even decided on Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal for breakfast occasionally hahah... Its kind of crazy that there are those kinds of options for the middle of nowhere. Later this week we get to learn how to drive the ATVs and the snowmobiles and then we also have to learn how to rig the helicopters. We packed up our helo boxes yesterday and they will fly everything out to the camps ahead of us since we can't travel with the boxes because of dangers due to wind and weather. So Saturday morning we have to go down to the helo pad load up our personal belongings and we will fly out about 45 minutes to get to our first testing site, Lake Fryxll. Once there we will set up camp set up our tents and get equipment ready for the science work. The holes in the lake will have already been drilled thanks to another group that is already there so we will be able to get right to work. After a few days there we will get picked up by the helicopters again and will be taken to Lake Bonney (both in the Taylor Valley of the Dry Valleys in case anyone wanted to look it up). We will have to drill holes there though so that takes a couple days worth of work and melting before we can start sampling. We will be there for awhile and on Thanksgiving Day we hike 4  hours for our meal at Camp Hoare and then have to hike back to our camp... thats going to be a long long day... The last week of the month (around the 24th) we will fly back to McMurdo to do laundry and to shower. Then Jenna and Rachael head out immediately while Wei and I will be in town for 5 days and then will fly out to join them later on. OH and Wei finally got here last night! He is at Happy Camper school today and tomorrow and then he will have to bust his butt to get ready to leave on Saturday but i think it is manageable so we can all go out together which would be good especially when it comes to helo hours. Today is kind of a slow day though so we are going to go hiking up Observation Hill which should take us a couple of hours, its a decent size hill/mini-mountain hahah. We went to Scott Base on Sunday which is the New Zealand base a couple miles away and that was a nice hike.. it was good to get outside for awhile and to see something other than the town. I am going to miss sleeping in my bed though when we are out in the field for the next couple of weeks hahah. Ill try to post more pics to facebook after the hike today.
we have met all kinds of people since we have been here. We had lunch yesterday with a group of divers who actually cut through the ice to dive into these lakes and explore the bacteria and algae and stuff that live beneath the ice... I cant even imagine diving under ice... makes me cold and claustrophobic just thinking about  it hahaha They were really cool guys though and it was interesting to hear about it. We also went to a science talk on Sunday night given by a guy who studies Wendell Seals here in McMurdo and on the ice shelf... they tag them and weigh them and they know how old each one is and how many babies they have had which is amazing to me.... They were a really interesting group... There are so many people doing so many different research topics that it makes the community very diverse and interesting. This is definitely an experience I wont soon forget....
Alright I gotta get going but I will try to write one more update before we head into the field...

Hope all is well there
Peace and Love!

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