31 October, 1996
It doesn't seem that I've been away from work in the real world for a month.
We were scheduled to fly back to McMurdo at 4:00 PM today. Bill and Jim were picked up at 9:30 but the weather seemed to deteriorate as the day went on. By 3:00 the mountains were no longer visible. We got a call that the helicopters were being tied down because of strong winds. We have enough food for several more days without tapping emergency rations. The "gray water" barrel is full but that's only a minor inconvenience. The delay will end up giving the divers the opportunity to make three more dives, two today and one tomorrow morning. It also gives me a chance to catch up on my journal and add my only S022 group photo.
One of the projects I've been working on with the Aquanaut Program is monitoring heavy metals in sea scallops collected from the Gulf of Maine. There are certain metals that are not naturally found in the marine environment that will collect in the tissue of these animals. By measuring the amount of metals in their tissue we can get an indication of the amount of metals pollutants that are entering into the food chain. Yesterday Chris collected eight scallops for me. Although they are a different species, they will give an indication of concentrations in various organs in animals taken from a pristine environment. Since I have a permit to collect invertebrates, I'll be able to bring them with me when I return to New Zealand. Although the US does not recognize NZ's claim to Antarctica, NZ will not allow anything from this continent to enter their country without a permit, not even rocks. Since all flight to McMurdo and South Pole go through NZ, they control what enters and leaves here.
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