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9 November, 2004

Dr. Doran has arrived, and he brought toys!

Temperature: 15*F = quite balmy!

Location: McMurdo Sound

Dr. Peter Doran roared into town last evening on a C-17 aircraft; we are all glad to see him! We were able to chat for a little while and then all of us went to a presentation on the early Antarctic explorers. It was enjoyable to see all the old pictures from where we are today; it is quite interesting to see the changes in ice conditions. After the lecture, we decided to call it an early night due to our busy schedule today.

This morning got off to a fast start. Peter, Jackie, Brandy, and I all went and got certified to drive the trucks around town. This will make moving all our gear from the storage area and the lab down to the Helicopter, or “helo” pad much easier. As soon as we obtained our “licenses”, Jackie and Brandy hurried to “Happy Camper School.” Happy Camper School is the nick name given to the Field Safety Class; this class takes parcticipants out into the field and teaches them how to survive the best, and worst, weather conditions that Antarctica can offer. Peter and I have already gone to Happy Camper School, so we only had to take a refresher, or “push,” course this afternoon.

During our refresher course, we reviewed helicopter safety, injuries, environmental concerns, lighting stoves from the survival bags, and setting up tents. It is always good to review the basics before venturing out into the field. If an emergency should arise, it is best not to exacerbate the problem because you can not remember the basics. We had a good time lighting stoves and setting up tents!

Between drivers school and our refresher course, Peter showed me the new toy he has brought to the ice. It is a beautiful underwater camera/video system; I can not wait to jump in the water with it! It takes both Digital still photos and video, records sound underwater, has an incredible lighting system, and seems to be easy to handle. We are going to assemble it tomorrow and practice on dry land before it goes for it’s first dive. It will be fun!

Since Jackie, Brandy, and I got here, the wind has been quite steady and the clouds have been covering the Royal Society mountain range which lies just across McMurdo Sound. The town of McMurdo is, truthfully, not the prettiest of places, and in weather conditions that hide the surrounding beauty, it is quite easy to wonder what is so special about this area. This afternoon, the clouds lifted. It is breath taking to see the mountains break through the sea ice and heave their masses to the sky. Everything is special about Antarctica.

1. Dr. Peter Doran and the new underwater camera.

2. Just some of the topics covered at Field Safety Training.

3. Starting up the camp stoves; the flame is a bit high at first!

4. A proper stove flame; notice the nice blue flame.

5. Peter and one of our "bins" to be packed in a helo sling load. All cargo must be weighed, the bin is on a large scale and Peter is recording it's weight.

6. This is the Berg Field Center crew. These people provide incredible support to the scientists and really make it possible for operations to run smoothly.

7. A helicopter returns to McMurdo Station; Mt. Discovery is in the background.

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