Feb. 1, 2014 17′ WC 0′

The Big Goose Egg.

We hit zero degree this morning for the first time since I have arrived.  I thought all my life that Antarctica was just a massive frozen waste land you would have to be mostly nuts to even want to explore much less plan on living here for any length of time.  But God Bless the engineers and the mechanics and the brave people who have worked smart and hard at creating the equipment, clothing and the housing it takes to make this wilderness accessible.  I have seen the penguins and seals.  I have walked the ice and played in the snow, and I have heard the music of the wind whipping through the warehouses.  And I have felt the cold.  The long sustained cold.  And I have learned to appreciate all of it.

And now I begin to work in it.  Using the stout, sturdy equipment, wearing the heavy, warm clothing, and living in a much more comfortable environment than some of the ski resort hotels I have stayed at over the years.  And especially the food in the Galley; it is so much better than I had expected.  In spite of the long days and heavy lifting I have gained weight during my time here.  (Sadly it s not all muscle, but let’s pretend for now.)

Today was the first day of the Supply vessel off load.  The Maersk Illinois was slowed by foul winds late yesterday which delayed her arrival until 6pm rather than noon.  Our supply team rallied up in the Galley pad at 6pm regardless of the landing’s time change, and began to sort all of the paperwork that details the products to be found in each box, on each pallet, within each mill van.  And that took quite awhile.  There were four of us sorting through the enormous stack of paperwork sifting it down to the individual packets representing each mill van’s contents.  That will save a lot of trouble when the product actually gets here.

There was ample time to walk the 100 yards over to the cliff and look down on the vessel as they tied her to the pier.  I then took a couple of pictures of the parking lot we have commandeered into the storage area for food stuffs that don’t need special handling immediately.  As luck would have it two of the first vans taken off the ship were frozen foods, and fresh vegetables, which meant that Elvis and I got to start our day before 10:30pm and I had my first ever mill van emptied without any damage to the product in 45 minutes!  That’s not a record by any means, but it is a personal best for me, and I’m gonna enjoy it!  Until tomorrow when I intend to smash that record and set a new one.  That makes me Happy!

And then we waited.  And we talked, and we told stories, and we sent some of the crew for additional paperwork, and we sent some of the crew to assist in the storage room at the coffee shop, and we sent some to get more coffee and when each of those groups came back, we talked some more…and we waited.  We are, at this juncture, totally at the mercy of the crane operators aboard ship.  We can only work whatever they send us here at the Galley pad.  Oh they sent a huge amount of stuff to our teams at different locations around base, but we waited…  With a little luck, we will have warmer weather tomorrow for what will unquestionably be a much harder workday.

Below are pictures of Elvis, The Maersk Illinois, and the parking lot I will call my office for the next 10 or so days.

Much more tomorrow.  H-B-J!!!

 

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