Dec. 27, 8:00pm 34′ WC 28′

   What a nice day.  It was a little blustery this morning but it calmed quickly and the rest of the day was sunny and beautiful.  By lunch you didn’t need a jacket, a heavy sweater was warm enough.  Most of my day was spent in the office, and although it was the first day back to work, it was very quiet.  Only a few people needed parts, and they were mostly in house mechanics.  I did get to drive the pickle again, as Elvis and I were needed to move a shipping container from it’s storage facility, about a quarter mile away, down to the office.  After transferring the piece we needed over to the mechanic, I drove the crate back up to it’s home. 

   It still surprises me some days to see how many of our supplies we leave in outdoor locations with little more than the wooden crate or heavy cardboard containers to cover them.  Of course many of these pieces are engine blocks or heavy equipment replacement parts that are stripped down to the painted metal and could withstand the winter here covered in a paper towel.  Rust would be more of a problem if there was ever any real precipitation.  But there is none.  I remind you that the entire continent is considered a desert because what moisture is in the air freezes so quickly that it cannot seep through the paint to cause the rusting action.  Even some of the cardboard boxes seem to be largely unaffected by the snow that lands on them.  The wind blows the drifts away before the side walls weaken enough to collapse.

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  Now there are a large majority of supplies that need to be handled quickly.  Any type of food stocks, computer parts or office supplies get indoor homes right away.  Most anything made of glass, including the heavy automotive type is secured in a building toot sweet, (pardon my French).  But tires?  Outside.  They’re wrapped in a cocoon of heavy white plastic, usually four at a time, and stacked upright on the side of the hill, looking a little like an army of Michelin men awaiting orders.  And there are wooden boxes of enormous size hand made to secure scientific equipment for it’s transfer to the Antarctic interior.  It may sit in our facility for weeks until the team that needs it arrives on the ice to set it up.  It may just catch it’s breath for a day or two and be pulled across the ice on massive sledges to where it was needed yesterday!  Timing is very different down here.  I feel genuinely sorry for those scientists who came up with the funding, gathered their team, made the trip all this way and now have to wait for their one big piece of equipment that must wait for the ice to melt before it can safely land by boat.  That is not a current situation, but I have heard the tale.

  In case I didn’t mention it before, there is a team of meteorite chasers who have been here the entire time since I arrived and still have not been able to leave McMurdo because the weather is too bad to safely land them at their destination.  Almost a month of downtime.  They do have office work to keep them busy, but the adventurous people that they are, seem itching to get out on their snowmobiles and find those aliens!  I don’t blame them.  I count myself fortunate to have been able to walk in the door and get started right away.

More tomorrow…I’ll tell you about our day picking daisy’s.

Tim.

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