7 November, 1998

November 7, 1998

One of the things I forgot to mention in yesterday's journal was that our helicopter flight to Granite Harbor was cancelled because of strong winds and a potential for weather change that might ground the helicopters. This would leave us stranded out on the ice with only our emergency gear and rations. So we opted to wait for a nicer day. Yesterday was not a terribly exciting day. I worked in the

darkroom all day developing photos from the film I shot the day before. These are photos of the chloride cells glowing from the DASPEI stain. They really do look NEAT! But because the gill lamellae are alive and thick, I can't get the whole thing in focus so the photos are not very good. However they are good enough to use for counting and measuring the chloride cells which I will probably start to do today. The cells have to be counted and measured on the photograph because in the microscope they die quickly and the fluorescent stain seeps out into the surrounding tissue which makes counting and measuring difficult. Even though it wasn't a very exciting day, it was a very productive one. I got a good sense of accomplishment since I am becoming more familiar with the procedures I need to use. I also was taught how to unload the pictures from the digital camera onto the computer so these photos should be appearing soon.

Yesterday started out with a spectacular blue sky so I was suprised to see that it was overcast when I emerged from the darkroom at 12:45 for lunch. Some of the mountains across the frozen sea ice were cloaked in ominous-looking clouds. It looked like we might get snow, and the air didn't feel as dry as it usually does. It is still the same today but there is no mention of snow in the forecast. Most people think of Antarctica as a stormy land of ice and snow, but actually, on a yearly basis, there is very little snow. Antarctica is the driest continent. It is a cold desert. Here at McMurdo there are only a few inches of snow each year. Some places in Antarctica haven't received any snow for years.

QUESTION TO THINK ABOUT: If there is so little snow here each year how could there have been enough snow to form the gigantic glaciers that cover the continent and flow out into the frozen sea? These glaciers are thousands of feet thick in some places. WOW!

Despite the clouds, the scene outside the window is still wonderful! The clouds and patches of light that break through gaps in the clouds enshroud the mountains giving it a mysterious look.

Today looks like it will be a pretty interesting day since we have a fishing trip planned to the fish hut at Cape Evans. I passed my driver's test yesterday so today I might be able to drive the spryte!

Well I hope you have a good day, and do something good for someone. Seeya

Fred Atwood



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Content-Disposition: inline Trematomus bernacchii, the fish we are studying to find out how their gills control cell levels in the blood. I call them frog-faces.

A Weddell Seal basking in the sun at the foot of the Mt Erebus Glacier.

The entrance to the ice caves near the Mt Erebus Glacier

Inside the ice cave.

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