Saturday, January 10, 2009

WAIS - Jan. 10, 2009 - Gifford

Name: Gifford J Wong

Date: 10 January 2009
Location: WAIS Field Camp (Galley)
Time: 2330
Latitude: 79°28’1.2”S
Longitude: 112°5’6.0”W
Elevation: 1,759m
Borehole depth: ~1100m
Temperature: -5.4°C (this morning – sorry)
Wind speed: negligible
Visibility: Seems like miles and miles!
Precipitation: My water-soaked pants from sitting inside an igloo for 2 hours
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, toast w/ Nutella, lox, and orange juice.
Lunch: Pork loin with apple sauce, French fries and peach cobbler for dessert!!
Supper: Incredible roast turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and corn chowder (plus more of that magical peach cobbler!)

This is the blog for the 10th of January, and I’m staring at the clock… 30 minutes left. I’m taking a quick break from my igloo time to drop in on the blog – I love that I can type a few lines and have them broadcast to the interested folks. Thank you for reading!! Today, er, tonight is my first night-before-a-day-off in 2009. Not too bad, all things considering, as its only been 10 days … but this being the 10th day, I am a touch hungry for something out of the norm. Thank goodness for “Saturday”!

I find it interesting how quickly shift-work can put you into a comfortable routine. Earlier you heard of how Spruce and his fellow shift cohorts have created a mini-community within the WAIS community. The same can be said for my shift. In a sense, I’m only able to hang out with folks that are awake during my meal times. In a lot of ways, this kind of schedule set-up makes sense since we can run the drilling/ice-core handling operations 24 hours a day. The downside, of course, is you can go for days without getting a chance to hang out with your friends (such as Tim, Spruce, Bill, Tanner and Patrick!).

The routine, of course, helps me, of all things, get out of my tent in time to get to work for my own shift. I usually wake up around 0515 … out of my tent at 0530 … stretch in the Recreation Rac Tent from 0545-0600 … breakfast until 0630 … work from 0700-1500 … and then struggle to avoid napping because dinner is at 1800. Sadly, I’m in bed by 2200, and then it starts all over again. “Weekend nights” like tonight are different, of course. First off, I’m still awake… secondly, camp folks feel compelled to stay up “later” on the nights preceding their day off, and that usually means F-U-N.

Tonight was especially fun. It started with Ben Partan (camp manager and Emperor of West Antarctica) collecting folks to play softball after dinner. He somehow roped in 18 people to play on an impromptu field (unfortunately, a Tucker was parked in our usual playing area so we had to make due with a field that put the sun behind the pitcher). The score was “a lot” to “a lot” by the time we called it good. We even got a couple innings of “pinch playing” from Tim and Spruce who were still dutifully logging core!

And then there was the igloo mentioned in Spruce’s blog – it was christened with a gathering of bodies and stories. Despite its ~2m diameter size, I found myself swimming in a sea of 10 happy people… one of the things we shared were middle names, and in no particular order: Julia, Ruth, Andrew, James, Franklin, Michael, Tarrant, Joseph, Giese, and J.

With this, I think I need to get moving again. For one thing, its already 2355! I also see that there is just a little more peach cobbler left… hmmm, midnight snack? Cheers from WAIS!