10 November, 2001
Today began with Driving School. We didn't have to do any actual driving, but we needed to have a class on driving safety in Antarctica in case we need to use a vehicle. Mostly people use vans and trucks to transport people and cargo. In addition there are lots of heavy machines like forklifts etc. The vehicle that took us out to Snow School was called a Nodwell. I didn't get a picture of it, but it was a bumpy ride.
After the driving class we went out to our Jamesway on the Ice Runway. We worked until about 5:30 pm. Right now our work is all pretty much the same thing day in and day out. We have to build a total of fifty solar panels. We are about half way at this point. John, Jesse and I tackle these each day while the others work on computer equipment, powerboards, and lots more. Next week we will start going to the sites where we will install the seismometers.
Yesterday Don and Ted went out into the field to begin some preliminary installations. They flew in a Twin Otter Engine plane. They spent twelve hours in the plane because it couldn't land where they had originally planned. They got back at 11:00pm!
One thing that I just can't stop marveling at is the 24 hours of sunlight here. It is so weird!! It always looks the same outside. Our dorm room has a thick shade, but light still gets in through the sides. I have to wear an eye mask when I sleep.
Another interesting thing is how the weather is divided into three categories: Conditions 3, 2 and 1.
What makes up the different weather conditions here in McMurdo? --Condition Three is anything better than condition two.
--Condition Two is when any one of the following is true:
Wind speed is between 48-55 knots
Visibility is less than ¼ mile but greater than 100 feet
The wind chill is greater than -75 degrees F but less than -100 degrees F
--Condition One is when any one of the following is true: Visibility is less than 100 feet
Wind is greater than 55 knots
The wind chill is greater than -100 degrees F
If it is Condition 1 outside: you stay inside! Out on the Ice Runway it often gets to Condition 2 or 1. If we should be out there when it is Condition 1, we have to stay in our Jamesway until the bad weather subsides. That could mean being stuck out there for a while. Weather is taken very seriously here because it is so unpredictable and dangerous. Each time we go out to our Jamesway, we have to take lots of ECW gear with us just incase.
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