Posted by: sioglac | Nov 29, 2011

McMurdo Roundup

It’s tentative, but there is a distinct possibility that this is our last full day in McMurdo before heading out into the great white expanse. I haven’t been keeping up with what’s going on in McMurdo, so here’s a roundup of the past week or so. Hope you don’t mind a whole lot of pictures…

I 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 hiked Ob Hill instead. Like last time, we hiked straight up into a cloud. You can view our group shot from the hike if you click the “2011-2012 Field Crew” tab on the top of this page. Here are some more:

Hiking up the same trail I had done earlierDescended around back to meet up with the Ob Hill Loop trail. It was unusually snowy and awesome

Huw staring off toward the sea ice. The sea ice runway, with four LC-130s parked, is on the rightWe checked out the new gigantic people movers parked on the road between McM and Scott BaseAnd then we found some mustache signs

After the hike, Jill’s crew was off at Happy Camper and she needed a hand to help set up a small camp for her Danish colleagues out on the sea ice, near the South Pole Traverse staging area:

The place was pretty barren, so Jill decided to spruce it up a bit…Feels just like home, right?

Then it was time for Thanksgiving. I already told you about my Thanksgiving morning running the turkey trot, but I never showed you the awesome race shirt they gave out. Best. Race shirt. Ever:

Thanksgiving dinner was incredible. There were 3 seatings: 3PM, 5PM, and 7PM. We were in the last seating and had 14 people, so we wanted to be near the front of the line to grab the bigger tables. The evening in pictures:

Mission accomplished: First in line! Line went around the corner and out the door.Dinner was phenomenal. This was tray 1. Tray 2 was plate #2 and desserts. No pictures of that though. Too busy eatingOur group at dinner. Ben is in front. Then from left around the table: Knut, Lucas, Paul, Vicki, Me, Sridhar, Tarun, Rory, Matt, Atsu, Huw, Martin, Angie

Random story from Thanksgiving: they crew wanted to get us up and out of the galley because there were a handful of imminent evening social events. How did they do this? They turned on Super Bass really loudly. Guess what? It worked like a charm:Mass exodus from the galley within 60 seconds of Nicki Minaj blaring through the speakers

One of the evening activities that night was Freezing Man, which is the Antarctic version of Burning Man. Had to snap a picture of this guy:

Some random other stuff from the past week with little to do…

(1) Rory found an unicycle in Crary (the building for scientists)…

Apparently, he knows how to ride a unicycle too:

Between his unicycling and my joggling, we might just start a circus out on Whillans.

(2) We took a walk (through really gusty winds) out to New Zealand’s Scott Base (~1.7 miles away) to hit up their wonderful store:

Scott Base is way cool. It feels super home-y, especially since you have to take your shoes off when you walk in (an incredible idea by the way). The store is small, but has great stuff, like the cufflinks I bought with the Antarctica New Zealand logo on them. You can read a bit more about Scott Base from a student who actually lived there here.

(3) Someone asked where my office was in Crary. When I told her, I was asked “OHMIGOD! Have you seen the mini-Big Red hanging near there?” After a bit of discussion, I realized she (and her friends) were in fact talking about my Big Red:That’s it on the right. Feel free to compare it to the parkas on the left, which are almost touching the ground

FOR THE RECORD, it only looks small because I know how to effectively hang a jacket on a hook, unlike the usual “hang it by the hood” method. It’s a medium, folks, and they go down to extra-small. I’m not getting defensive about this or anything. Nope.

(4) I tweeted about this, but in case you were worried about whether or not we can have dance parties out on the ice stream, worry no more!

26 watts of pure speaker power for us

Literally as I typed that, we got some bad news. Paul’s flight to the Whillans Ice Stream today was cancelled and pushed until tomorrow. Which does not bode well for fitting our flight on the schedule tomorrow. Friday and Saturday, they are moving the runway because the sea ice near McMurdo (where I landed 16 days ago) is getting too thin. Which puts us on a plane to Whillans likely on Monday. C’est la vie. Guess you’ll get a few more posts before I leave. I’ll be sure to make them picture-heavy after the last two word-heavy ones…




  1. […] Team GPS is only 5 people, Jill (a WISSARD principal investigator (PI) and friend from Dartmouth with whom I helped “decorate” her Danish colleague’s camp last year) calculated our maximum camp population will be 55 people. FIFTY FIVE. That’s 20% bigger than […]

  2. […] have an unexpected Christmas Dinner in McMurdo (which I can only imagine is as good or better than the unexpected Thanksgiving I had here two years ago), and, best of all, I got to make my first ginger bread house. Ever. In my […]

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