Antarctica Expedition : Post #3 - October 10-13, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Antarctica. Oct 10-13

Well… I am here!! It is the most beautiful place in the world. We flew here on an airbus and flew over the sea ice with incredible cracks and ice formations.

We all need to dress in our ERB clothing. Moon boots are a must.

 
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On the bus to McMurdo.

On the bus to McMurdo.

 

We received our briefing and settled into dorm 203B. Room 213 is equipped with one bunk bed, one single bed, 2 closets, a chair, a desk, and a dresser. The view from our window is pretty awesome.

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After one day of heavy training - learning how to use our VMF radio, our pagers, touring the science labs (Crary) and meeting with my NSF manager - we were ready to do the mandatory "Happy Camper" on Friday and Saturday. This involves learning about the hazards of cold weather and how to survive if we are stranded.

We all dress in our ERB with lots of layers and leave in the Delta to camp out:

 
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We really experienced the cold... it was -63 degrees!!! I learned what clothing will and will not work in such conditions. We all could hardly move. The only way to stay warm was to work.

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We learned to make a snow wall by sawing rectangular blocks of snow. The wall would block some of the wind coming from the south. The tents would be set up in back of this wall.

We also learned how to set up our own tents:

This is Murphy digging her ice cave!!

This is Murphy digging her ice cave!!

It seemed that the only time in my life that I would be able to sleep in the snow was now, so I took advantage of the skills of Patrick (who is a builder from Chicago) and slept in an ice cave that he created for three!

Here we are: Lya, Patrick and me in "The Taj Mahal"

Here we are: Lya, Patrick and me in "The Taj Mahal"

 

The evening was beyond freezing. I slept with two pairs of wool socks with a toe warmer in between the layers, three pairs of assorted fleece and long under wear, two long underwear tops with a fleece on top, my bib overalls, and a hat. All under a fleece mummy liner inside a down mummy sleeping bag.

We all survived except Michael who ended up having severe frost bite on the tip of his thumb,

Morning was difficult. Very cold. We had to try and eat something, take down the camp and head back to our hut for more training.

I was a "Happy Camper" but I was also happy to be back in some warmth.

 
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Finally back at McMurdo. Happy to have a long hot shower...a nice hot meal and go out to their local Saturday night bar, "Gallaghers". Pretty good band and a great DJ. Most of the scientists and people that work at McMurdo are pretty young - college,  College PHD's - so there was a lot of beer and some great dancing.

Sunday here is a day of rest... so brunch is from 11-1 and it is pretty elaborate. We finally received our cameras, etc. and I am now able to email you.

Love to All..

Tomorrow is a day on the Sea Ice!! So excited!!

Posted by Diane Tuft