19 November, 1996

November 19th, 1996

This morning we ran into Dr. Braaten on the way to breakfast. He had just arrived from the pole at 5:00 am. He told us he would meet us at 2:00 in the lab to get started. After breakfast I stopped by the post office to get stamps. Postage rates are the same here as they are in the States. I also called my Granny, who I hadn't spoken to since I left from Australia. The phone system hooks into Washington State, so the call cost normal long distance rates. I just used my calling card. I ran out of time to call people as I had left a load of laundry running (Gram-ma-ma: As I was reading this I wanted to let you know that I did try to call you, but the lines are extremely busy and I couldn't get another line out of McMurdo until I got a hold of you. Sorry). I set my laundry in my room to dry, and within hours it was completely dry. There is such a low humidity here that even jeans took very little time.

After lunch we answered some e-mail and wrote post cards. At around two Dr. Braaten arrived. We spent some time just getting caught up on everything that was going on. We also made scheduling plans for the rest of the week. Mrs. Bennett and I will be going out all day Thursday to the field to collect data for the wind ripple project. On Saturday we will leave for a week in the field at Ferril Automated Weather Station, 60 miles out on the Ross Ice shelf. We will fly out by helicopter.

The remaining time we did a myriad of little things. We collected Dr. Braaten's equipment and hung his tent and sleeping bag out to dry. He also exchanged his GPS which wasn't working quite right for a new one. The Global Positioning System allows us to make exact measurements on traverses without bringing along a tape measure. It is accurate to within 50 feet.

We also prepared our survival bag for our day in the field Thursday. We stocked it with food and fuel. The bag contains a tent, two sleeping bags, two foam pads, a stove, few pots and two tarps. This is just a safety precaution as winds can blow storms in quickly. If we are caught in a storm we can set up camp and call McMurdo on our radio advising them of our position. We have supplies to last comfortably for three days, much longer than any storm. If we are prepared, then we can prevent others on the Search and Rescue team form having to risk themselves searching for us in a storm. It is better for everyone if we just stay put.

After dinner, we started setting things up in the lab. We tried setting up several types of pumps to aid with filtration. We are going to use an electric powered vacuum pump to pull the water through faster. We turned in quite late, but with much accomplished.

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