Sunday, December 9, 2007
Time: 11 am
Latitude: 77° 50' South Longitude: 166° 49.10' East
Temperature: -3°C (26°F)
Wind speed: 17kmh (10mph)
Wind Chill: -9° C (15° F)
Clouds: partly cloudy
Wind direction: ENE
Relative Humidity: 28%
Barometric Pressure: rising
Today is another gorgeous day here in Antarctica. Breakfast at 7:30,
then a couple of safety classes, then some blog updates, and later
lunch, mailing packages, and packing for happy camper school which
happens the next two days. The meals here in McMurdo are outstanding.
The folks that run the galley do a very nice job with food and
comfort. There are basically four meals a day; breakfast, lunch,
supper, and mid rats (midnight rations). At every meal there are a
number of entrees from meat to vegetarian options. Last night I had
turkey supper with mash potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, and "homemade"
bread. About 1000 people might be on station at any one time so that is
a lot of food and a lot of work for the galley staff. I have never had
even a slight bad meal. It is certainly very hard not to gain weight
here even though everyone is burning thousands of calories everyday
working in these conditions. This morning's breakfast was the basic
eggs, bagel, sausage, OJ, and coffee. I could have had Belgian waffles
or omelets, or hot/cold cereal. Always plenty and delicious.
One of the classes I was required to take to day was on what to do with
trash. might sound silly but there are over a dozen categories of trash
type in the disposal system. Burnables, food, glass, metal, etc etc.
Everything is shipped off the continent back to the US to be recycled
or disposed of in landfills etc. If everyone did what the people here
in Antarctica did the world would be a lot cleaner and waste less
energy. Waste is a very important job here in Antarctica and there are
a number of people that are in charge of the waste disposal system.
There are even a number of sites here on the continent that are
designated "clean sites" and you need to have permission to go there.
Helicopters planes etc can land within a certain limit of those areas.
Everyone really tried very hard to keep this continent as clean as
images are of 3794 meters tall Mt Erebus (http://erebus.nmt.edu/) and
Willey field - which is the airport out on the sea ice from which we
will fly out of in late January.
One thing that I have not
mentioned in a while is that all of this is thanks to the National
Science Foundation and Office of Polar Programs. The NSF does an
outstanding job of maintaining, regulating, and directing operations
here in Antarctica. Without the hard working folks at NSF none of this
would happen. The company that does the support services here isRaytheon
Polar Services. Certainly without their support operations, which
includes everything form food service to heavy machinery, science would
not be able to continue in the manner that it does here. As I already
mentioned the 107th Air National Guard directs all the flight operations here, and it is one long swim without their aircraft.