A Day off. Dec. 15th 8:30pm 32′ WC 15′

Image  32′ but the wind chill made it much worse.  It felt as if I were in Antarctica for the first time since I have been here.  Today I had off, and took a walk up Observatory Hill, which is, in fact why they built the station here.  It has a commanding view of both the inland routes to the South Pole, and the navigable waterways heading back out to sea.  I realized about half way up the hill that I was positively under dressed for the wind around me and headed back to base.  I have time to achieve that goal another day, and sooner rather than later since I didn’t  continue to try to  struggle to the top and bring home a case of frost bite with me.

It was nice to sleep in today, although I must admit that I find it really very easy to work the hours I have currently.  We start at 7:30 am which is 2 1/2 hours later in the morning than I normally start work in Denver.  I did stay up sorta late last night, mostly because I could.  I had fun going to a fencing class that was being taught by a volunteer teacher.  Many people teach classes here in the evenings.  For some it is simply a way to keep up with the things they love to do when they are at home.  They may not be a teacher in Denver or Chicago, LA or Paris, but here in Antarctica they are clearly the best at what they do, and are willing to teach.  We have Yoga, dancing, outdoor camping, and cooking.  There are several different Disc Jockeys competing for the time to broadcast  in the radio station.  There are people pulling together musicians for bands here on a near constant basis, because so many people are coming and going.  One man’s turn on the ice ends, and he leaves making room for the next newly arriving person to pick up in the band if he wishes.  And speaking of bands, one of them was performing last night at one of the two taverns at McMurdo Base.   I walked home from my sword play  and found the only pool table in this part of the continent and traded in my saber for a cue.  It was a night for long pointy things.

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I keep drawing your attention to the fact that there is a very collegiate atmosphere here, and it is absolutely true.  Some of the scientists who are gathering information down here compile the data, and on Sunday and Wednesday nights they give presentations of their data.  It is not only educational entertainment for those of us who work here, it is also very possibly the first time this information is shared with the world.  The scientists may use this opportunity to shape the presentation they will make to the board of directors at their University when they get back home, to entice the funding to continue their research.  I can feel my old brain stem springing back to life!

I have sat in on a presentation about atmospheric research into the ozone layer, and the main point it brought home to me is that I am not wearing enough sunscreen down here.   You might have picked up on some much more important stuff, but I was exhausted by that time of night.  You can of course find out about all the research being done here by going to usap.gov.  There is almost too much to mention.

I look forward to more of these presentations because there are at this point 35 different studies taking place all over Antarctica.  All of which are being supplied through my office, in one way or another.  That makes me feel happy and responsible.  Boo-boos are verboten!

More tomorrow.  Tim

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3 thoughts on “A Day off. Dec. 15th 8:30pm 32′ WC 15′

    • Hello! You are so right. This is such a cool adventure to be a part of. Yes, it’s cold here all the time, but you just move through it and stay indoors when it gets windy. After the first 2 days I just don’t notice it any more. I tell ya, you need sunscreen more than wool socks down here at this time of year. Photos are a problem, but that has more to do with figuring out the connectivity than the camera or the computers available. This weekend, when I will be doing something akin to “Outward Bound” Antarctic style. When I get back on Sunday I will have a lot to say, and I’ll just pay somebody to write down all the connecting steps. Love you, Kiss Mom for me.

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