7 November, 1998

The camp was buzzing with activity a little earlier this morning due to the helicopter coming at 9:00 am to pick everyone up to go to Lake Fryxell. I'm staying behind to do one more soil transect before Chris and I go into McMurdo.

We ate breakfast in shifts again, and the others gathered the gear that they would need for the day. I labeled more bags for a second soil transect and gathered the gear that I used yesterday.

The weather was beautiful today, especially the morning. The sun has shone constantly since we've arrived at Lake Bonney, and as a added bonus today, there was very little wind this morning. This made the temperatures feel even warmer...I could start shedding some of my layers. The decrease in wind really helped the soil transect go much faster. I wasn't fighting the wind (which yesterday threatened to blow my samples and papers away). This time, I walked away from camp about 250 meters in the opposite direction and set up my sampling site. The soil was much drier there (which makes sense, because the other site was around a bend, protecting it from the wind). My footprints in the sediment looked like moon footprints because of the fine sand. I worried about leaving traces of me on such a delicate system.

I returned back to the Jamesway for lunch. I decided that since only Kathy, Ed, and I were around (the rest of the LTER team had gone to the West Lobe of Bonney to drill), I would make grilled cheese sandwiches. I found some Fritoes in a bag (where did they come from?) which are a rare treat here in camp. All in all, it was very satisfying, knowing that I needed the fat to keep me warm! (At least that's what I tell myself.)

Since I was done with my work, and the helicopter was coming soon to pick me up, I decided to do a watercolor painting of the scene behind the Jamesway. Ed had brought watercolors (as I have mentioned in previous journals), and so I contentedly spent the afternoon watercoloring the mountains, glaciers, and different rocks from our back window. I don't know how well it really turned out. I had to leave at about 3:00 pm for McMurdo. I'll check it out when I return to camp. The helicopter dropped John and Nina off, picked me up, and we took off to Lake Hoare to pick up Rae, the camp manager. She was on her way into McMurdo to celebrate her birthday. We picked up Chris, Jim, and Mark from Lake Fryxell before making our way finally to McMurdo. Jim and Mark were doing a day-trip at Lake Fryxell to collect samples for the lab. So, all in all, the helicopter took 5 of us back into town.

Upon arrival, we put our samples in the freezer and got back into our rooms. I took a shower (yes, I needed one, seeing as it was 5 days ago I had my last one!) and did some laundry. We ate dinner at the Galley, and I went to the Crary Computer Lab to catch up on my e-mail. It has been difficult to get e-mail access at camp because of the load time and because there are 9 other people in camp right now who want to do the same thing. I'm doing the best I can to keep up.

There was an art show at McMurdo tonight which we had all submitted small watercolor experiments to. I wasn't able to go, but I hear that John's very bright, very colorful "Lost Soul" was a big hit.

I went to bed early (10:00 pm), and planned on sleeping in a little. On Sundays at McMurdo, breakfast isn't served until around 10:00 in the morning, sort of a brunch. So maybe I can get 12 hours of sleep. (?) They do have a Chapel of the Snows, a penguin-motifed, stained glassed windowed "church" in which they have different services for different faiths. The services are later in the morning, though, and I have experiment responsibilities at Crary (so I won't be able to go tomorrow).

This was my sediment testing site. You might be able to see my meter tape running up the hill to the flag and then the other flag to the left which marks the end of my "T" transect.

This is an example of the type of documentation I did every 5 meters along the transect. This sample happens to come from the 35 meter mark that ran perpendicular to the lake.

As we were flying back to McMurdo, the pilot pointed out the open water in the distance. That wasn't there when we flew to the Dry Valleys 5 days ago. The sea ice is breaking off and being carried out to sea. In this picture, it looks like a dark blue line on the horizon.

An aerial view of McMurdo from the helicopter as we were returning to Mactown (as it's called)...not a very clear picture, but it will give you an idea of what it looks like.

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