22 November, 2003
Time and time alone waits for no man!
While I have been here in McMurdo getting gear together and taking courses, I often walk by the sundial that is mounted on a walk bridge over a heating duct. Every time I go by it, I give it a look and if it is pointing to a time I have not recorded, I will shoot a picture of it. This morning, I called my students back in Peru, New York, and in order to call them during class time, I had to get up at 3 AM McMurdo time. As luck would have it, the sun was out on my way to the office to place the call and I was able to add a new time picture to my collection. I've included a series of my sundial shots with this journal. Since this was a day off for us I was also able to get in some skate skiing. In my dorm building they have a rental shop where I was able to get a pair of skate skis and go for a ski out to the Ice runway and back. Before I could go however, I had to take a safety course about outdoor recreation, then go over to the Fire station and file a Rec Plan telling them where I was going, how long I was going for and when I would return. If I am 5 minutes over due, a whole series of events takes place starting with a call to my room, then a call to my PI, next a search and rescue group would go out on the trail I was supposed to be on. So although you feel safe with these plans you do not want to be over due or forget to check in because you can put an awful lot of stress on some very caring people. So, after you fill out the form and the dispatcher checks to see if your name is on the list of people who have taken the course safety course, you are issued a VHF radio and off you go. I had a great time skiing up and down a trail along the road to the Ice runway. It a trail I like to call "Fire and Ice" because as you ski towards the runway with your back to the wind, you fly across the snow and heat up real fast. Then, when you turn around and go back, the wind which had built to 15 knots, hits you square in the face and you slow to a crawl and freeze! I did do some skiing across the wind to see if I could even out the wind effect but all I accomplished was to alternate which side of my body would freeze!
Along the ski trail were two large seals who would raise their flippers as I went by, they were basking in the sun and seemed oblivious to the wind, I suspect their aerodynamic shape funneled the wind around them smoothly. They must have thought I could not make up my mind as to where I wanted to go since I kept going back and forth in front of them!
Well tomorrow we are off for our Shake Down trip to test our gear and practice with it in the field. Peter Braddock, our Mountaineer said we should see plenty of wild life on this trip. That will be great, because where we are going for our science expedition, the only wild life we will see will be 200 million year old wild life!
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