Posted by: sioglac | Nov 22, 2011

Get ready to wait

McMurdo is a pretty unique place. One of the more unique things about it is there’s a big rush to wait. The folks at Science Cargo (rightfully) want your cargo in the system 3 days before your flight, which means everyone needs to rush to push cargo through immediately without knowing the status of put-in flights. As it turns out, we’re currently situated on the harshest continent on the planet, so, more often than not, put-in flights are delayed. After a frenzy of work, both our group (C-520) and Paul’s group (I-181) find ourselves with very little to do right now. Or until the 24 hours before our flights, which is looking like next Tuesday or Wednesday. To give you an idea of how normal this is for McMurdo, this will be Knut’s third consecutive unplanned Thanksgiving dinner at McMurdo.

What does my day look like now? Usually it starts around 6:45AM, entails three very lengthy meals, a trip (or two) to the coffee house, a few errands related to our stay in Antarctica, some yahtzee, and yesterday some folks even switched it up a bit by playing Clue. Such is life in McMurdo. We do keep busy though. The past two days I spent finishing some work that I had let slide over the past few weeks. Paul hopes to update his website. Odds and ends like that. Today, Captain Huw decided to push more recreation. My morning activity was another run to Scott Base and back (with a nasty wind blowing on the return trip). I do, after all, have to make sure I have my running form back for the 5K Turkey Trot on Saturday. Then this afternoon, all 12 of us are heading out to Castle Rock. While some will be hiking, I will be learning how to cross country ski. It’s my VERY first time. No better place to learn I suppose.

What else to say…? Our food total for the field is right about 1200 pounds, split pretty evenly between dry and frozen foods. That comes out to 3.6 pounds per person per day. For reference, a pound of fat is about 4000 calories, while a pound of protein or carbohydrate is about 1800 calories. I’d say a normal person eats about 1-2 pounds of food a day. I also found a two pictures on my phone that I hadn’t posted yet:

Sign on the side of the medical building. Cracks me up every time.

 A pretty typical McMurdo desert. Chocolate cake topped with Frosty Boy, m&ms, and chocolate syrup

That’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll have pictures of me falling on my face learning how to XC ski. Don’t forget that I sometimes send short updates on Twitter, which can also be seen on the righthand column of this blog. The twitter updates will be more frequent while on the ice stream.




  1. I believe that in the military this is called “hurry up and wait”.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you!

  3. Are there no crevasses on an ice sheet/ice cap/sea ice/wherever you are? I assume you’re not roped up and ready to self arrest every time you step on the ice

  4. GUESS WHAT?? I have good news. You’re going to be an excellent XC skier because of your running!! Tweet more about that (and the brinicle! SO NEAT) miss you!!

  5. […] guess I never mentioned this, but after grand plans to learn how to cross country ski, the weather did us in: we weren’t allowed to leave base to ski the Castle Rock loop. So we […]

  6. […] problem. View their principle investigator (PI) Martin Seigert talk about it here. Antarctica is, as well all hear, a harsh continent and problems are bound to arise. There are two silver linings here […]

  7. […] I’d take a stroll down memory lane. If you want to see what I’m up to nowadays, read my blog post from last year. It’s mostly the same, but here are some key updates and/or […]

  8. […] you guessed “sitting in McMurdo, waiting for a plane, like every other year,” you’d be right. In fact, my tales of being stuck waiting for a plane have started to […]

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