9 November, 1999
Tuesday November 9, 1999
Woke up somewhat rested, with the sound of the wind howling outside. My room is a s warm as toast. Got dressed went out and took some pictures and then went to breakfast. We have to have our laptops checked today for viruses and 2YK stuff. I called the person I was suppose to,and he came to where I was and checked my computer. All OK, especially since I won't be here during the New Year. As you may recall from the other journal, putting this computer on the present system is not always easy. Well I'm typing this journal at 2033 hours and they have been screwing around with this machine since 0730 hours. I'm really worried.
More on this problem later.
At 0800 hours we had our wastes management meeting.. It is amazing the effort that goes into keeping this place clean.. Everything is retrograded, sent back to the states. In the states average recycling gets 22% of stuff recycled, here it is 73%. Most impressive. There are some 13 categories of trash. Including the SKUA SHOP, a place where the waste management team put things that could be used by others. Much like a thrift shop. Magazines, bottle of shampoo that someone didn't use much of. Pretty wild. Ha!
They talked about the collecting of human urine (gray water) and feces at the field camps and how that too must be retrograded for treatment. There is, a goal of 100% compliance. I'm sure it doesn't happen, but, the amount of noncompliance I think is real low.
After this meeting it was off to the NSF Chalet, where the NSF director of McMurdo has his office. I walked into the building and followed the sound of voice upstairs to a loft where I met the following people Robbie Score , Lab Management Supervisor, Karen Joyce Computer Support Project Lead, Julie Pallaise, and Al Sutherland, Station Manager. As I walked into the room Al greeted me with a big hello, and I countered with a big bear hug that sort of caught the ladies a little off guard. You see, I met Al Southerland and have known him since 1992. I think his title was Director of Marine Operations when he was in charge of the N.B.Palmer tour that I was on in 1992.
The purpose of the meeting was to literally find out what we were going to be doing; what we needed for equipment and space, and when we would be doing our thing. The next thing on the agenda was to tell us that because of flight delays both of our talks had been canceled. I'm disappointed, for I had done a lot of work on them, but, with the way things have been going to date it is probably better. Next I was told that I would be attending an overnight survival school and helicopter training this coming weekend. I'm really excited over this, it should be "fun". Always wanted to have to build a snow/ice shelter to keep me alive during an Antarctic night. Can't wait.
After this meeting Barb took me over to where the LTER labs are located. We are the first of our team to arrive on the ice so not much activity in the lab right now. We were greeted by a graduate student named Mike who showed us around and filled us in on what had been and will be happening. I am oh so fortunate to be here.
I went to check on computer. Problem was now more significant then early though. Why? I haven't the foggiest. Come back at 1630 hours. OK.
Grabbed a quick lunch and then put on ECW and went for a walk to hut point. Hut point is where Robert Falcon Scott built a hut to winter over in during one of his expeditions to Antarctica.
At the very tip of the outcrop of land there is a wooden cross erected in memory of a sailor lost to the sea during the Scott expedition. It is quiet an impressive site sticking up out of larva soil, that is more rocks then soil. While I was out there the wind picked up and I had to hold onto the cross to prevent from being blown over the edge of a cliff I would guess 150' above McMurdo Sound. I sat down and just started out over the vast whiteness of the frozen sound with its blue ice runway, I guess about 2 miles off in the distance and at the Weddell seals that dotted the ice, some females weighting in about a half of ton. These critters are real big and real lazy.
I did notice that all the seal I say seemed to be laying with the head facing east and their tale facing west, maybe it is to get more sun on their massive bodies. I checked with one of the researchers here who is working with seals and he said that several summers ago they looked at just this question.. There is no correlation between sun angle and seal orientation. "They don't need it. The have more than enough blubber."
On the way back from hut point I met a fellow who was headed out to the hut. I n chatting with him, Jonathan a Kiwi graduate student, I learned he had spent last summer here sampling blood from seals for another PI. This year he was doing his on project involving the studying of lice found on different species of penguins, specifically the Adelie and the emperor penguins this season. He hopes to see if different species or subspecies of lice are found on different species of penguins, to see if they evolved along the same lines. He will be using high tech science involving DNA analysis to compare the different lice. I asked him he penguins bit, he said an emphatic yes, but he had yet to work with "the boys" (emperors). "So I can't say, old chap". He told me most aggressive have been the tinniest of all, the fairy (blue) penguins that he studied back in N.Z.. Next season he was headed to Chile to look at the lice on the Chilean Penguin and the Megallanic species. Wow what a great job!
Returned to the computer lab where I met a young guy from upstate NY. He is an ice diver and gave me a real good web site members.global2000.net/browser. Check it out. I guess this is his 7th season on the ice, or should I say under the ice. I asked him how cold the water was his response was, "about -1.9 C". What's that in Fahrenheit? Why is the water still not frozen if the freezing point of water is 0C?
I paged the computer tech to check on my computer and he said it was fine. Well it was not, so he found another tech that got it to work long just enough for his shift to end, about 1830 hours. I found yet a third tech who worked on it until 2145 hours, three hours past his quitting time. He's got me to where I can send some email, but, there is a problem, "that they'll work on tomorrow". I hope so!
All of the computer techs have been most helpful. Over and above the call of duty. Thanks Guys.
Well it is now 2338 hours and I have not had supper yet. A quick trip to the bathroom; then I'll put on my ECW and go over to the galley for Midrats (midnight rations).
Have a great day. Till tomorrow.
Penguin Pete the Polar Man
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