The winds never really went away. They blustered and faded as Friday progressed. Then they came roaring back tonight. We have experience 40mph sustained winds making the WC feel considerably colder than the temp I’ve listed above would suggest. I have had to walk between building several times today to gather parts, but it only takes a minute. I can’t time the gusts, but I am well dressed thanks to the elves back at the Christchurch, NZ. cold weather gear issue.
No work with Elvis today. I did have to drive a regular truck up to one of the remote storage bins late yesterday and could clearly see that the sea ice has melted off considerably. The ice breaker’s job should be easy this year. The Polar Star has arrived and began making sweeps through our outer bay last evening. Several people have mentioned that the ice should be cleared and our first ship could dock as early as this Saturday evening.
That leads me to the subject of today’s blog. A notice was sent out over the Base email asking for volunteers to work as Linesmen to assist the docking of the vessels we will receive in the coming weeks. The ice breaker itself will dock, if only for a short time. Our supply vessel, the fuels vessel, and for the first time we will welcome a Korean science vessel which will dock at our port for a short stay late in the season. I’m uncertain why the Koreans will be visiting us, but I’ll let you know.
I went down to the Galley Friday afternoon to hear the presentation about linesman expectations and responsibility. It was fun and engaging, and I knew several other people from my department who were also going to join. I signed on and was issued a pager for them to contact me whenever a vessel arrives. That may be the tricky part. It means that I am on call 24/7 from the time one vessel leaves till the next is safely docked. How that will affect my workload from the VMF remains to be seen, but how it affects my sleep habits is what scares me. As I’ve already told you, when the supply vessel arrives our department kicks into a 12 hour shift – six day week. With luck, the unloading process will take as little as 10 or 12 days, but that depends on many things. Some of the cargo is very delicate, such as science equipment, the new helicopter and or new vehicles, which will require special handling and which cannot be rushed. That may slow the process considerably.
I’m not too worried about loosing sleep. This is just the next step in the adventure, and certainly a step I could never take in my landlocked and beloved Denver. We have lakes and we have docks and you can tie off a pretty good sized boat in some of the reservoirs, but nothing compares to this. These are ocean going freighters with massive capacity. And I can’t wait to be standing beside one of them.
Trust me when I say there will be pictures…
My next entry will have details of the ships we are expecting.