24 November, 1996

Nov. 24 Remote site - Ferrell AWS 100 km from McMurdo

McMurdo min temp - 6.1 C max temp - 2.1 C 6 knot prevailing winds Ferrell min temp - 10.5 max temp - 7.8 C 18 knot prevailing winds Beautiful, clear day when we wake up. 6 F at 7:30 when we waken. Later it gets up to 12 F. Dr. Braaten called in to Mac Ops before 8:15 AM, which is our check in time. Breakfast is oatmeal, bagels with peanut butter or marmalade, hot chocolate and coffee, homemade bread. We kept the radio on while we ate and listened in to other conversations. One science field group obviously overslept and Mac Ops kept calling them. When they finally responded 45 minutes later, they sounded so sleepy.

The Coleman stove messed up by shooting flames about 8 inches high. Scary. We used a frying pan to depress the flames and didn't have to use the fire extinguisher, but what a mess all the soot made. Dr. Braaten had to change a tube called the generator, one of the spare parts they sent along with the stove. The people at the Berg Field Center seem to always think of everything that could possibly go wrong. It makes you feel safer to know they are so much on the ball there.

It seems rather warm because there is no wind so I wear the thin pair of underwear, fleece pants and top, wind pants and the light parka. I also use the neck gator and goggles. This allows me to work and not get too overheated. If it cools down I will wear my heavy parka and put on an extra hat.

After breakfast, Dr. Braaten and Suruj take bamboo poles with flags and mark an area in the downwind direction 2 km from his apparatus. They take 20 snow core samples as they come back. This takes several hours. Meanwhile, Jennifer and I try to get snow ripple data. We have trouble reading the Brunton compass and were not sure exactly how to make measurements. We ate granola bars for lunch.

The winds began to pick up about 1PM and it gradually got cloudy making taking photos more difficult, but not yet impossible. The wind was soon blowing so hard you could see the features in the snow change as you watched them. Wild.

About 3PM, Dr. Braaten and Suruj return and suggest we take a break. We eat hot soup and thick slices of fresh bread, hot chocolate, coffee, GORP, etc. When we look out of the tent about 4PM we are greeted by FOUL weather. It is odd it could change so quickly.

Since the weather is too foul for Jennifer and I to gather data, we help Dr. Braaten and Suruj gather more snow cores. I recorded the sample numbers and core lengths. My fingers felt like blocks of ice even though I had thick gloves on. (I realized later, that the trick to keeping them warm is to wear mittens, not gloves. It also helps to swing your arms in a circle forcing the blood to the fingertips. ) We don't finish the cores until about 9PM. Now it is time to make dinner. Light Coleman stove, gather snow for ice, melt it, etc. Much later we have dinner done. A real treat, lobster tails, carrots, Tater tots and canned fruit. We didn't finish cleaning up until about 11:15 PM.

I took several photos of the midnight sun and got to bed at 12:50AM. I am exhausted. My back and ankle hurt. I took a heavy does of ibuprofin which was prescribed to reduce the swelling and pain in my ankle. I hope it works. I wear expedition thermal underwear, silk sock liners and my pair of Swiss Army socks to bed.

The adage about "If your feet feel cold, put on a hat" really is true. When my feet got cold today, I put on a hat and soon my feet warmed up. You lose so much heat from your head that covering it allows more blood to flow elsewhere and warm your extremities (fingers and toes) I have found my bunny boots to really be warm. The layer of air really insulates and keeps the foot warm. One pair of socks ASA gave us is fine. You don't need several pair. Once again, I am reminded of what Scott Borg said, "Trust your equipment and you'll be fine." The sleeping bags are warm and toasty. We have a foam pad and another pad with air pockets to insulate and make you more comfortable. The sleeping bag also has a fleece liner so you are snug as a bug in a rug. The hard part is getting out of this snug little cocoon in the morning and putting on cold clothes.

This is another end of a great day.


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