|The Polar Star in McMurdo Sound|
The Polar Star broke up some of the ice in the bay near station, but by the time they got here, a lot of the ice further out was already clear. Some of the folks who’ve been down here many seasons have said that they’ve never seen so much open water. And it happened fast. It seems like things were still pretty closed in less than two weeks ago, but this week there is open water in pretty much every direction.
And with open water has come penguins. During the marathon there was a group of Emperor penguins hanging around aid station #2. And closer to station we’ve had a ton of Adelies playing in the water. We got what might be the last nice weather of the season early in the week, and a lot of people took advantage, taking the short hike down to Hut Point to watch the Adelies and get a little bit of sun.
|Adelies hanging out at Hut Point|
I didn’t get that close to them, but spectated for about an hour, watching the penguins make their clumsy way across the rocks and ice, and then jump into the water and porpoise out to some other piece of ice.
My own work has been variable the last couple of weeks. I had a grantee in town last week, and then another in town this week, so that has given me some extra things to do. I’ve also been working on swapping in new computers for CosRay, since the station is finally upgrading operating systems on the network computers. It has been interesting working with IT to get IP addresses assigned with all the right permissions and such. Facilities has been working on rerunning a lot of the power lines around station and they are to the lines running between station and Scott Base, which means that CosRay is also facing a short power outage in the next few weeks, so I also learned how to run a UPS backup battery test in order to make sure that the system would remain powered and continue transmitting data during the power outage. Everything went well there, so now I am just waiting on word for when the outage will happen, so I can keep an eye on things.
Earlier in the season I applied to be part of the winter Search and Rescue team. Initially, Loomy, the guy in charge of SAR, put me in as the first alternate, but one of his team members failed the PQ and I officially joined the team and started training with my new teammates. So far it has mostly been classroom/indoor training on pulley systems, knots, self-belaying, etc, but every other Thursday we head out into the field for some more practical experience. For our first outing we spent the morning at the crevasse simulator not too far from Happy Camper. We got introduced to the various anchoring systems, and then set up a main line, belay line and two edge kits.
|Jamie doing edge duty|
|Looking up at my edge crew from the bottom of the "crevasse".|
|Jonathan tying in to the main and belay lines|
|Chris, Gavin and Jamie hauling someone out of the crevasse on the main line|
|Rebecca holding the main line|
|Looking up out of the crevasse|
|Ice crystals growing on the ceiling of the crevasse.|
|The same ice crystals up close. They were huge!|
|And another look|