Archive for December 2009

Flight to McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Today I awoke at 4:30am to get to my first ever military flight.  It was a C-17 from McChord Air Force Base, near my hometown of Seattle.  It was very similar to checking in for a commercial flight, except all the crew wear fatigues.  Once aboard, there was the same safety talk about seat belts…

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Getting Water at WAIS

WAIS Divide Camp at  79.47° S latitude, 112.06° W longitude – high on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Plateau. Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. There are 40 or so people in camp who all need drinking and cleaning water.  There is no excess of H2O, but it is all inconveniently frozen. …

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Dec 17th – Morning at WAIS Camp

WAIS Divide Camp at 79.47°S latitude, 112.06°W longitude – high on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Plateau. Wind speed 18-23knots, temp -18 degrees C, 1 mile visibility. This morning I noticed very unusual drifting patterns created by footsteps. The steps compact the snow and over time the wind blows away the surrounding snow leaving these…

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The Journey to WAIS

This post is coming to you through a low bandwidth GOES satellite, in plain text email, set up by my very clever niece Christine (thanks!!) Monday, December 14th – I flew in a LC-130 or “Herc” to the WAIS Divide Camp at 79.47S latitude, 112.06W longitude – high on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Plateau.…

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Waiting to go to WAIS

uh-oh!  The day of my flight, there is ground fog!  It is a bit hard to see in this photo, but look at that swath of purplish-blue between the mountains and the sea ice.  I am not due to go out until 14:15, so maybe this will burn off, but I suspect it is not…

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Happy Camper continued. . .

The next day, I awoke early, so got the whisperlite stoves going and soon we had hot water for cocoa, instant coffee and oatmeal – yummy.  The rest of the morning went by quickly.  We broke camp and then practiced calling MacOps (radio into headquarters).  “MacOps, MacOps, MacOps – this is Happy Camper, do you…

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Happy Camper School – Ross Ice Shelf – Day One

Friday morning I and nine other lucky souls began Happy Camper School with our very clever Kiwi (New Zealand) instructor Billy.  She is in the light green jacket.  Fortunately, it was a Ski Doo camping experience, so we didn’t have to haul our stuff out onto the Ross Ice Shelf, where we spent the next…

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McMurdo –

I am slowly getting used to the layout and pace of the station.  I have been walking around jetlagged and sleep deprived, so all of the new information is going in slowly, most of it dropping all around me.  The folks who work here know this and remind me to take it easy.  There is…

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