30 November, 2001
Nov 30th- Tamcamp
Today was the final day before half of our team leaves for Tamcamp. Maggie was scheduled to go with the group, but she is sick. She will be staying here with Juliette, Doug, Rigobert, Luo and me. I am happy that Maggie will be here. She has become a good friend, and I don't want to have to say goodbye to her yet. The Tamcamp team will return from the plateau after we have already left Antarctica.
Tomorrow the team will fly 500 miles south by way of a C-130 Hercules air plane. They will spend the first three days acclimatizing--getting used to the thinner air at the higher altitude. I mentioned the dangers of altitude sickness in a previous journal. The three days of acclimatization are necessary to help prevent this. The team will spend the first three days resting and taking in extra oxygen. The Tamcamp base camp manager is very experienced in dealing with altitude sickness. He will be there to help with any health problems that should arise.
After the three days of rest, the team will begin installing seismometers in various places on the plateau. They will take daily Twin Otter flights to these sites and then return to Tamcamp at the end of each day. The camp is set up with a cook tent, science tent, medic tent and cargo tent that are heated. My teammates will be sleeping in regular mountain tents with no he at! Sound like fun to you?
Another heated tent will be set up for the two Twin Otter pilots, Erin and Scott. They will be flying our teammates out for the daily trips. One of the sites is 200 miles south of Tamcamp. That's 700 miles from McMurdo and only 200 miles away from the South Pole!
Since Tamcamp is on the plateau, the scenery will be just like that of my trips up there-flat and white as far as the eyes can see. Those who are going are not too excited about it. They know that it is going to be a long and cold fourteen days. We wish them a safe journey.
Tonight we had a little going away party for these brave souls. This was the last time that I would see them. Our team is dwindling in numbers as the trip winds down. Those of us remaining have four more installations to do via helicopter. We also have to clean up the Jamesway. There is a lot to do yet.
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