Saturday, January 3, 2009

WAIS - Jan 3, 2009 - Gifford

Name: Gifford J Wong

Date: 03 January 2009
Location: WAIS Field Camp (Science Rac Tent)
Time: 2030
Latitude: 79°28’1.2”S
Longitude: 112°5’6.0”W
Elevation: 1,759m
Temperature: -20.4°C
Wind speed: 2.4 kts
Visibility: Seems like miles and miles!
Wind direction: 326°
Relative Humidity: 69%
Precipitation: None
Altimeter: 28.87
Animals: I like the cracker variety … ?
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast, lox, and some foie gras with orange juice.
Lunch: Lime-coconut-chickensoup and flat-bread sandwiches (crabmeat, salami & ham & gouda, or veggie – I chose the first two). Peach cobbler for dessert!!
Supper: Lovely mix of flank steak, garlicy seafood soup, steamed
carrots, fries, and peach cobbler (from lunch)! Oh, and IBC Root Beer
(no joke)!!

Hello again! Life at the oWAISis resort/camp continues to roll along. Today my list of things done include: 1) work, 2) shower, 3) write letters and 4) play a few holes of golf.

Work was fantastic today (as it honestly is every day). As John hinted at in his blog yesterday, I got the opportunity to work with him logging ice cores while Bess took a day away from the cold, noisy and dry Arch. Working with a new partner presents both interesting challenges as well as exciting, new interactions. The process, as outlined by Tim a while back, is not without its inherent difficulties. We are dealing with surprisingly fragile, regularly irregular, and frustratingly dynamic ice. That said John handled the tasking swap like a pro! He even picked up on the hand signals that Bess and I developed for the 1-meter logging station (Tim’s “second station”). My friends who are behind “Discovering Deaf Worlds” ( would be proud!

The shower, in and of itself, is not worth noting. The process, however, may be interesting for some. As you might imagine, we are surrounded by “water” in the form of snow… but a snow-melter takes a lot of energy to run. We definitely try to conserve water where possible (save for drinking water – dehydration is a silly thing to find yourself ailed with out here!). A sign hanging in the shower reminds the shower-er how much water it takes for a 5-minute shower: one 55-gallon barrel full of snow. So, before I began, I checked the holding tank (which attaches to the water heater) and the melter tank – both were full. The barrel (which is unceremoniously dragged from outside, where the fresh snow is piled, to inside, where the melter/tank is staged) was completely empty. A quick shoveling of snow solved that dilemma, and I found myself ready to bathe!

Letter writing, it might be argued, is a lost art. I mean, text messages have their place, and emailed letters are a fantastic way to effortlessly communicate with anyone anywhere in the world! Phone calls are great (and satellite phones are incredibly decadent). BUT an actual letter received at a field camp hundreds of miles from anywhere is quite the little treasure. To bring this point home, for me at least, Dave the driller (he helped build the golf course) let me borrow This Everlasting Silence: The love letters of Paquita Delprat and Douglas Mawson 1911-1914. In this vein, a letter received warrants a letter sent. The previous planes (aforementioned in at least John’s blog, I believe), while few and far between, generously brought with them a number of cards, letters and even packages for me. So, tonight, between work and dinner, I wrote cards and letters (so if any of you are reading this – they’ll be on the next plane, I promise!).

And this brings me to the last thing “I did” tonight – play a few holes of golf. Admittedly, it was just 3 holes of “miniature” golf. In fact, it was the same course that was used for the WAIS Divide Olympics! A storm is coming in a few days and there was talk of tearing it down so that nothing non-snow-like blows away, but after 8 people played in tonight’s impromptu tourney, the decision was made to tear down the “golf course” tomorrow. The storm is due in 3 days… we’ve got time.

Well, if everything goes well, my shift might see the “odometer” creep past 1000 meters! I hear a sleeping bag calling my name… thanks for tuning in, and wherever you are, I hope you’re enjoying 2009!!


David said...

Giff! can you set up some kinda thing that lets me know anytime you post a blog so i know to check it? or can you add me to your listserv?!

Miss ya buddy! At the least, sounds like you are eating well =)

Anonymous said...

You should bring up Willy Field in the dead of winter. Shower, what shower, toilet, trash can with a plastic bag. Or have things evolved in the last 20 years? Three years of frostbite bringing that place up for Airdrop takes it's toll on a person. But the BBQ'd lobster was great, except we had to cook our own.

W/O 1989-1991

Anonymous said...

Hi Nice Blog .If your time is less valuable, then it is probably less worthwhile to phone time card.

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