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11 November, 2004

Fantastic Wake Up Call!

Temperature: 9*F = windy!

Location: McMurdo Station

What a tremendous start to my day; talking to all my friends back in Rye, New Hampshire! This morning offered my first chance to make a direct connection with my students back home. It was so wonderful to hear so many friendly and familiar voices; I miss everyone! Thank you so much for spending the time to chat with me! I want to extend a special thanks to Miss Adams for organizing everything on the Rye Junior High end, and Arlyn Bruccolli and Steve Stevenoski for organizing everything on the McMurdo/NH end. I also want to thank Brandy Anglen, Jackie Grom, John Deacon, and Jean Pennycook for being there and parcticipating in the chat. I am very thankful to have such amazing people in my life.

My dive this morning was again canceled, so we turned our efforts to getting everything ready to go to the field. We packed all the remaining items into the sling load containers, and we transported all the items to the helicopter pad. This may sound like an easy task, but it gets quite complicated keeping track of the location of each individual item. Every time we move from one location to another, weights and cubic dimensions must be reported to the helicopter crew so they can prepare the proper sling loads. Once we got everything weighed, packed , and delivered to the helicopter pad, we went to our meeting at Mac Ops; or McMurdo Operations.

Mac Ops keeps track of where everyone is in the field. We need to report in to Mac Ops everyday by the designated time, or a search party is initiated. When we report in, we must state our group project number, how many people are in our party, and state whether everyone is safe. In order to check in successfully, we must know which channel to use on the radio, and which repeater station to use for our parcticular location. Missing check in times is taken very seriously here in Antarctica; it is nice to know there are people here in town who are watching out for us.

After our meeting with Mac Ops, Peter and I went to a dive meeting with the other dive team members and the dive coordinator for Antarctica. We went over dive protocols for Antarctica and reviewed what we would be doing out in the field. It was nice to finally get to discuss the gear and the field plan. We will be using surface supply helmets while in the field, so not even my face will get wet. I still have not been able to do my dive in McMurdo Sound, but they are sending me to the field and we will do a check out dive in the field. I have been told that I will be able to do a dive in the sound when I return to McMurdo.

Once the dive plans were established, Brandy and I decided to venture over to Scott Base. Scott Base is the New Zealand equivalent to McMurdo and is only a few miles away. There is actually a shuttle service that runs between the two bases, so we took a shuttle. The pressure ridges bulging in front of Scott Base give some insight into just how squeezed the sea ice can become. In the picture below, the building seen in the foreground is the common area for the base; it is quite a large building - check out the size of the pressure ridges!

1. Talking to my friends back in NH; John Deaton is in the background.

2. Peter, Brandy, Jackie, and I rounding up gear to pack in the truck.

3. Brandy relaxing on a pile of gear going to the field!

4. Jackie, Brandy, and I (I'm in the center) try to decide if we would prefer to travel in a sling load!

5. Peter reviews the proper "repeater stations" for radio communications with Mac Ops.

6. Jackie takes over the Mac Ops radio communications; OK - not really!

7. Me modeling the "band helmet" we will be using while diving in the lakes!

8. The immense sea ice pressure ridges seen at Scott Base.

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