Saturday, January 5, 2008



January 5, 2008
WAIS Divide camp Antarctica

Time: 6 am
Latitude: 79° 28.10’ S
Longitude: 112° 3.56’ W
Elevation: 1820 m (5919’)
Ice core: 250 cm (~7‘)
Temperature: -14 °C ( 7°F)
Wind speed: 10 km/h (6 mp/h)
Wind Chill: -18 C (-2 F)
Visibility: 11 km (7 miles)
Clouds: thick stratus
Wind direction: N/NE
Relative Humidity: 77%
Barometric Pressure: falling
Precipitation: 0
Breakfast: egg-ham mix, egg-asparagus mix, fresh cinnamon bread, cold/hot cereal, fruit
Lunch: lasagna
Supper: Catfish filet, vegi soup, fresh bread


Yesterday we spent most of the day in the arch making more final adjustments. By afternoon we drilled another 2.5 m (250 cm or ~7’). It was just enough ice core to work it through our processing line and make sure everyone knew what needed to be done when we soon collect 10s of meters per day. Because there are plenty of core handlers for the work today in the arch, I spent most of the time as a carpenter building shelves and such.

The weather was calm and quite warm compared to past couple days. The light was still very flat due to the cloud cover but it could still have been a great ski day had I had a moment off. The warm weather had me starting to think about summer time and plans for diving on coral reefs and being at the beach with my children. Not that I am looking forward to the heat but I am thinking about playing in the “warm” Maine ocean water with friends and family. Possibly this is because though we have a shower here, my body has not seen a lot of water in weeks. This camp situation has almost everything we need including showers and a washer and dryer. The weather here is so dry though that you rarely sweat so a shower hardly seems necessary very often - maybe every week or so. To provide water for the shower and the washer (and all cooking/drinking) you need to melt water in washing machine-sized snow-melter. Each wash load takes about three full large garbage type buckets full of snow for enough water to run the load and one bucket full of snow for a 3 min. shower. With that much effort to dig and melt snow for a shower or wash load it seems hardly worthwhile to do too often. That being said, yes, I have taken a couple of showers since I got here, and even did a load of laundry. There is also not any dirt here. It is all clean snow and ice so you and your clothes never get dirty as they might at home. Remember, there are 60 other people here so if you do want to shower or do laundry you might have to wait in line. I do not have much time or interest for that when I could be skiing or seeing the sights. McMurdo also has showers and washers so I will make sure not to take any dirty clothes home – maybe.

Today’s image is one of John and me taking a warming break in the Jamesway shelter between work shifts. John, a graduate student from Penn State University, looks like he is still unsure about the whole concept about being in West Antarctica, or maybe it was something he ate?

1 comment:

Sue said...

John looks perfectly normal(?) to me in your picture, Zach ... and I'm SURE it wasn't anything that he ate! : )

I really appreciate your descriptive blogs ... lots more info that what we hear from "you know who!"

Thanks much!
John's Mom