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25 December, 2002

Christmas in Antarctica

This morning started a little later than usual and might have anyway, even if it were not a holiday. It was cold and windy this morning and I think most of us were thankful we weren't searching today. Instead, today was dedicated to enjoying each others company and taking the opportunity to call our loved ones back home.

Jamie and I made breakfast burritos and coffee for everyone this morning, and we packed the whole group in our tent. It was cozy, but still not as tight as the Quantas flight on the way down. After breakfast, we began our gift exchange. The ANSMET website suggested bringing small gifts ahead of time for the other team members, like Twin Otters, or real estate. The gifts people gave were actually very creative. We received everything from signed artwork to comic books, stocking caps, and ANSMET patches. Then came the items we'll really use in the field like candy and

footwarmers. Everyone showed great thought and generosity in their gifts.

We had a similar arrangement in our tent last night when we heard from the Rekki team. They are doing well and have 236 meteorites already. They have had some weather delays. It's been snowing there for the last couple of days, but if the weather clears, they plan to move to Pecora Escarpment on Friday.

This afternoon was spent reading, napping, playing video games, and watching DVD's. It felt good to relax after several consecutive days of hard work and successful meteorite hunting. Carolers from McMurdo sang Christmas Carols over the HF radio. Carlton Allen finished his "Christmas Tree" he made from snow and ornaments from home. He started it last night and we each got to place an ornament on the tree. It reminded me of the tree in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" that was so well loved that it grew more and more beautiful.

Tomorrow, we will get back to meteorite searching. If it is as cold as today, I'll certainly be putting my new toe warmers and stocking hat to good use. Many members of the team signed up to call home tomorrow when it is Christmas back home. The whole ANSMET team wants to wish everyone back home and reading this a Merry Christmas.

Carl's Christmas tree and the ANSMET team. Pictured left to right: Linda Welzenbach, Daniel Glavin, Scott Messenger, Jamie Pierce, Andy Caldwell, Dante Lauretta, Carlton Allen, and Nancy Chabot.

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