2 November, 1998
Well, today was preparation day for our tomorrow's departure to the Dry Valleys. We had breakfast in the Galley (the central building where everyone eats their meals) and at 8:00 am, Nina and I went over to the food warehouse to gather and pack our food. The food supply place was located upstairs in a dome-shaped building. There were shelves and shelves of food...we simply had to choose what we wanted, lay it on the floor, and pack it up into boxes. The food selection was incredible, and since we're part of a grantee team, we didn't have to cough up money afterwards. We both thought it would go quite fast. Were we wrong! Thankfully, John Priscu had marked numbers of things he wanted (or felt were best) on the master food list (because we wouldn't have known where to begin!). It took us until 11:30 am to get the dry and canned food all packed up. We had to separate the food out into two piles-- DNF (Do Not Freeze...things like glass containers, canned foods, fruit, chocolate, or things that would react differently by being frozen) and CF (Can Freeze-- things like dried goods, spices, etc.). Each box had to be labeled "Lake Bonney" , weighed, and marked with its weight. [The helicopter pilots need to know how much everything weighs, so that in case they have to, they can adjust the load accordingly]. After lunch, we went into the outdoor freezer and gathered the frozen goods (meats, breads, vegetables, butter, pizza dough, enchiladas, etc.). These we boxed up as KF (Keep Frozen). We then packed up the CF and KF goods into one HUGE box which would be slingloaded under the helicopter tomorrow. [It is carried by rope underneath the helicopter]. All of our food came to about 500 lbs! A lot of things will last the whole season (until the end of December), but my team will still have to order more food before then. Think about it...they're having Thanksgiving in the field!
We finished packing the food boxes, banana sleds (sleds used to haul equipment and packs from lake to lake), buckets, hoses, bamboo poles with red flags, etc. by 3:00 pm, and then I had to run down to the lab to make sure a few more lab supplies got packed into the load.
By 5:00 pm I had everything on my list gathered or ordered to pick up tomorrow morning. Two of our team members-- John Priscu and Mark Sappington-- went out to Lake Bonney on Sunday and have called back things that we need to bring (some electrical supplies, rags, plastic garbage bags, etc.). I even asked the Galley cooks this morning to package up some frozen bread dough for us so that we could have fresh bread out at camp. [I have to pick that up tomorrow morning...we have a small stove at camp that we can bake in.]
It was a long day, but well worth it so that we could experience how much work actually goes into making it to the field. I've been gone from home over 2 weeks and I'm still not to my final destination! Isn't that incredible?
I caught up on my e-mail in the evening, took one of my three showers I'm allowed per week here at McMurdo (yes-- I'm smellin' pretty!), and went to bed early. [Last night I stayed up until midnight doing journals and e-mail...]
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