26 November, 1996
Nov. 26 Remote Camp - Ferrell AWS 100 km from McMurdo
McMurdo Min Temp - 7.1 ° C Max Temp - 5.0 ° C Prevailing wind 13 knots Ferrrell Min Temp -8.9° C Max Temp - 6.1° C Prevailing wind 28 knots
BRRRR!! Temperature about 16F, but the howling winds of more than 36 mph make it really cold when I wake up at 7:30. We have to hurry and dress to check in at 8:15. Baby wipes make nice things to try to clean off while camping. It is the only way to bathe a little and I am feeling grungy. Radio check is OK and we eat a breakfast just like the others. It is still snowing. First it just blows old snow and then it snows fresh snow. It really is wild. The pressure is up a little so we are optimistic that perhaps it won't last all day. When we check with MacWeather, they say it will be at least 24 hours more. We can only hole up in our tent and read paperbacks and keep the stove going. Now I see why we brought 6 cans of fuel for 6 days. You just never know what will happen here in Antarctica.
Going outside is a pain. First you put your gear back on .... 2 pr gloves, parka, balaclava, goggles, hat, etc. Climbing out of the tent takes a lot of effort because of the two long canvas cylindrical doors to crawl through. There are huge snow drifts outside the tent and I slip and nearly fall numerous times. My camp mates tell me they know I am OK because they hear me giggle as I fall in the snow. You can hardly see the definition, so you are walking nearly blind. The tents change the wind patterns and form huge drifts on the lee side of them.
This would be classified as "Condition 1" because you cannot see where you are going. When the weather is fine, it is classified as "Condition 3". I really don't wander farther than the edge of camp.
Everything you do MUST be planned before doing it. If you take off a glove and set it down or drop it, it blows away. If you plan to use a hand-wipe to clean your hands, you must remember earlier to keep it in a warm place, like an armpit, etc. to melt the liquid. You need two pair of gloves usually. An inner thin liner and a heavier outer one. So if you must manipulate zippers in the blowing wind, you can at least protect them a bit.
The wind comes in waves. When you sit in the tent with a cup of hot liquid, you can watch the steam pulse back and forth because of the pressure wave pulses on the walls of the tent.
Part of the time we amuse ourselves checking the expiration dateson the food. Much of it is a bit out of date. If you think about it, it makes sense. First the food is purchased and collected at some site in the US. Then it is shipped down on a vessel that comes in January each year. Then it is stored in the Berg Field Center until needed. It is kept very cold, so the food doesn't deteriorate like it soed in hot warehouses in the states.
We also notice that there are numbers on our parkas indicatig the date. Mine is dated 1991 and yet it seems to be the newest parka. Whoever had it earlier must not have worn it much. It is very thick and fluffy compared to some of the others.
We go to bed at 10PM, once again hoping it will clear up tomorrow. I finally get warm when I crawl into the sleeping bag. I have been somewhat cold all day because of all the sitting. Sitting on the floor seems to cut the circulation. When I get up and move around, my toes get warm again, but there is only so much room in one tent with four people in it. I am sick of sitting in a tent! My clothes have gotten wet and are stiff with ice. My wind pants can stand up by themselves because they are so coated with ice. I am not a happy camper, but must accept the things I cannot change.
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