30 October, 1997

30 October 97


CONDITION III for all locations.

REGIONAL WEATHER SUMMARY...Low pressure moving south from Cape Adare will produce gradually increasing upper level cloudiness this afternoon with snow developing tomorrow.

TODAY...Mostly cloudy becoming partly cloudy near noon.

Visibility: Unrestricted.

Wind (knots): Northeast 6-12.

High Temperature: -10C/+14F. Lowest Wind-chill -24C/-11F

TONIGHT...Mostly cloudy.

Visibility: Unrestricted.

Wind (knots): Northeast 10-15.

Low temperature: -15C/+05F. Lowest Wind-chill -34C/-28F

FRIDAY...Cloudy with light snow.

Visibility: Unrestricted lowering to 3-5 miles in snow.

Wind (knots): Northeast becoming southeast 10-20.

High Temperature: -12C/+10F. Lowest Wind-chill -33C/-27F


High: -14C Low: -18C


Next sunrise in February, 1998

YESTERDAY'S EXTREMES - 29 October, 1997

Maximum Temperature: -11C/+12F

Minimum Temperature: -17C/-02 F

Peak Wind: 28 Knots

Lowest wind chill: -40C/-39F

I began the day thinking I would continue to work on getting the citrate synthase assay to run within the parameters of my experimental design but I soon found this was not to be. I was assigned to go with a group which would prepare a dive site at Turtle Rock. It was necessary to move the hut from the dive site at Cape Evans (where the iceberg is) to the new site at Turtle Rock. In addition, a new safety hole needed to be drilled at the dive site at Turk's Head.

After packing our tools, personal items, and survival gear we set off. No sooner had we gone 50 yards when the track came off our Spryte. This delayed us about an hour while we obtained another Spryte and a crew was sent to haul the first one into the shop.

Out on the ice we finally met up with the heavy equipment crew which would drill the holes and tow the Cape Evans hut to its new location. Once again we set off on our mission but several miles out our new Spryte developed fuel problems and died. We radioed for help but so much time had passed that the scientist in charge could no longer afford to go. He decided to stay with the Spryte until help arrived and would then go back to McMurdo. I was to continue the mission with the heavy equipment crew.

The heavy equipment crew consisted of a huge track vehicle which towed the large drill rig trailed by the giant auger on a sled. It was appropriately nicknamed "T. rex" and was truly a monster. The other piece was a huge Caterpillar bulldozer which would be used to tow the hut and clear the ice at the new site. I rode in T. rex. This in itself was quite an experience but one can imagine that the pace of the journey was rather slow. A regular Spryte averages 10 - 15 mph while traversing the ice. T. rex went at about half that speed while dragging its heavy load.

When we had gone a few miles a decision was made to leave the drill rig behind in light of the advanced time. Since holes would be needed at the new Turtle Rock site as well as the safety holes at Turk's Head there was no point in dragging the rig if time wouldn't permit the holes to be drilled. That would be done the following day.

The journey to Cape Evans seemed to take forever. I was anxious to see some penguins because to date I had not seen any. Whenever they had been around I was not. There had been reports of some in our general area but all I saw was a lot of penguin guano. Along the way I realized how well I was getting to know the area and continued to visualize the explorers of the Heroic Age who used this very route so many times. How different things were now.

At Cape Evans the site was dismantled and the heavy equipment guys discussed the situation and decided that they would need to drill the safety holes at Turk's Head before calling it a day. Incredibly, this meant that T. rex had to return to pick up the drill rig it left behind to save time. So... we crawled most of the way back to our starting point, hitched up the drill rig, and crawled back to Turk's Head.

When the crew finished drilling the safety holes at Turk's Head they towed the hut near Turtle Rock and left it. Tomorrow we planned to return to drill the holes, prepare the site, and hopefully make a dive to collect more sea urchins.

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