Wednesday, December 24, 2008

WAIS - Dec 24, 2008 - Spruce

Name: Spruce Schoenemann

Date: Dec 24, 2008
Location: WAIS Divide
Time: early morning of the 25th
Latitude: 79°28’1.2”S
Longitude: 112°5’6.0”W
Elevation: 1,759 m
Borehole depth: 690 m
Temperature: -16 °C
Wind speed: 8 knots
Visibility: Unrestricted
Clouds: Few at 4,000ft, scattered at 12,000ft, 3/8ths coverage
Wind direction: 025° Grid
Barometric Pressure: 29.06
Precipitation: None
Animals: Only Santa Claus (Billy)
Breakfast: Leftovers (I was sleeping)
Lunch: Pasta w/ Marinara Sauce and Coffee
Supper: Roast Duck Breast w/ Sweet Mandarin Comfit, Beef Tenderloin, Green beans, Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Cauliflower

Hello again to all those who are following the WAIS Divide Blog. This is my second entry for the blog and today is Christmas Eve day. Due to our strange three-shift schedule, I did not have to work today, however tomorrow on Christmas day our shift 2 will be the first to start up again at 3pm.

I awoke this morning to a warm tent (65° F according to my new keychain thermometer from Kendrick). It was another absolutely clear sunny day at oWAISes. I am starting to wonder if the weather ever gets bad here. All this talk about blizzards and white out conditions was just to scare the bejeezus out of us.

After a slow paced “breakfast” of ribbon pasta, marinara sauce, and coffee, I headed over to the Science RAC tent to burn some pictures of my Antarctic adventures thus far. I will be sending the photo CD home to my girlfriend and parents, so hopefully some of you might get a few pics by email.

On my way to the Science RAC tent I stopped into Comms to check with Ben about the arrival time of the LC 130 and found out that it was canceled. We were all expecting a primary flight to come in this morning with freshies for the Christmas Eve dinner since the last two on Monday and Tuesday had been cancelled. Folks were somewhat bummed since this meant there wouldn’t be any last minute Christmas mail.

During the afternoon I helped transform the Galley into a banquet hall for 44 people. We moved tables into two long rows, set up chairs and an extra table for the White Elephant gift exchange, and hung red, green, and white party streamers along the purlins. Around 4ish we started eating hors d’oeuvres and sipping boxed wine. John, Camille, and Renin helped prepare a scrumptious dinner of roast duck breast, beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, green beans, and creamed cauliflower.

But the highlight of the evening that everyone was waiting for was the White Elephant gift exchange. Santa Billy (head carpenter) arrived to officiate the exchange, but prior to that he allowed a select few (mainly ladies) sit on his lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. The rules of the gift exchange were quite simple. You were given a number, the person with #1 picked the first gift, then #2 could pick another gift from under the tree, or, if they liked number one’s gift they could take it. Any one gift could be stolen up to five times. Through out the evening a few very popular items, like a knitted hat and scarf, were traded multiple times.

Following the raucous gift exchange, arch and table traverses ensued. This entailed someone climbing from the floor of one side of the galley arch to the other side without falling. We made sure everyone was safe by having a spotter. A number of us tried it successfully the first time, so we moved to the more challenging table traverse. There are two ways to go around a table; around the width of the table or end over end. After some demonstrations by Billy and Kiwi John on how to do this, Logan, Tim, Natalie, Ed, Bill M., Bill F and I attempted the strenuous circumnavigation of the table. Bill Mason was the only one able to fully complete the end-to-end traverse but almost everyone made it over, under, and back up around the narrow part of the table.

To wrap of the festive evening we all went outside to sled down WAIS hill (the 30 ft high burm that Dooley made for storing the camp gear over winter). People hauled the banana sleds and Nansen sleds up to the top and piled on 5-10 at a time for a short but exhilarating ride. I put on some cross-country skis with edges and attempted some tele turns on the groomed slope but didn’t have enough speed to keep going. By the time the sledding ended it was officially Christmas Day and everyone wished one another a Merry Christmas!


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