So Maersk Illinois has returned to the open water. The weather calmed considerably after 24 hours and she made her way into the Southern Sea without trying to take on any more of the return product from McMurdo. The ice pier is beyond repair, and any further port operations will be suspended for the time being. We do expect the Korean research vessel at some point, but not for another week or so. With luck, and some cold days ahead, the pier may stabilize enough that we can handle a small science vessel, but that remains to be seen.
This issue was discussed at the All Hands meeting this evening. Executives from both The National Science Foundation and the Supervision of McMurdo brought the nightshift workers together in the Galley to thank us for all of our hard work over this past season, and to remind us of the greater good we are doing to further scientific research here and all through out Antarctica. They reminded us of all the special guests we have had visit us this season, and pointed out how things have changed for the better. This being only the second year that Lockheed Martin has held the contract for serving Antarctic operations, we are learning as we go. And they reminded us that now that the Higgs-Boson particle has been identified, the next big wave of scientific research will be taking place here in Antarctica as we further explore Neutrino activity. While Physics is totally beyond my grasp, except for watching The Big Bang Theory, I understand that the research being done at South Pole has captured the imagination and focused the attention of some of our countries leading scientists. Now we need the funding to continue the research. The All Hands meeting offered us a glimpse of what is happening now in Washington, DC and the name dropping began. I wont mention any names on this blog, as I don’t want to jinx things. But if the people who’s names were mentioned actually come to Antarctica next year, it will make the arrival of Prince Harry seem perfunctory.
No offense to the Prince…what he and his teams of disabled veterans accomplished in skiing to the South Pole was amazing. And it did draw a lot of attention to the cause of helping our disabled veterans. Now is the time for more positive publicity to help draw attention to the research being done here. And the funding will follow.