It’s that time of the year again, when I’m in McMurdo waiting for an airplane to drop me in the middle of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. After being a backup mission (or as the rest of the world would call it, flight) on Wednesday, then being an aborted primary mission today with poor weather on Whillans, it looks like we likely are back to backup tomorrow (though there is plenty of time for this to change!).
[EDIT: primary mission! 0715 transport!]
In honor of today being my 12th full day in McMurdo, which puts me at exactly half the amount of time I spent in McMurdo last year, I thought 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 differences:
- The Coffee House is now rarely open in the mornings. It’s consistently open from 6:30PM-10:00PM, which is strange since I’m not exactly looking to drink coffee at that point. I’m looking at drinking coffee at 6:15AM when my flight is canceled… That being said, the espresso is free this year! [EDIT: I still grab a coffee at 7:30PM. Better late than never I guess…]
- Paul never updated his website while waiting for his flight last year.
- Instead of the 3.6 lbs of food per person per day we had last year, we have 6.17 lbs this year. Though that’s artificially high because we packed our frozen food in heavier boxes this year, so I’d guess we’re around 5.8 or 5.9. We should have enough food to invite friends from the drill camp over for dinner!
- Instead of being here for Thanksgiving, I was here for New Years.
- We “bag dragged” already (meaning we checked our bags for the flight), so we only have a small subset of our belongs while we wait this time.
- I have no 5K to run.
- Instead of doing the hardest puzzle on the face of the planet, we did an adorable puzzle of penguins skiing. I would post a picture, but my camera is packed in my room. Maybe tomorrow.
- On that note, I saw penguins this year, instead of not seeing penguins last year!
- Many of the hilariously old projection TVs have been replaced by spiffy flat screens that have, *gasp*, DVD players instead of VCRs.
- Instead of Leo showing up in McMurdo weeks after we did and getting to his field site within 72 hours of his arrival on continent, it’s my Masters advisor (Bob Hawley) who is playing the slide-through-McMurdo-as-quickly-as-possible card this year.
While we’re talking about things that are different from last year, while 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 Palmer Station (one of the 3 US bases in Antarctica). And it’s probably bigger than half the towns in Wyoming. Hard to comprehend.