Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Norwegian Traverse and a Shower

I woke up this morning exhausted. Yesterday was strenuous and I didn’t sleep enough. I attended our 8 o’clock meeting, learned from Jens what I had to do to file our weekly report, checked on my dom-tests, found out that there was nothing else I was supposed to be doing, and went back to take a nap (during which I didn’t actually sleep that well). After lunch we finished the dom-testing for this SPAT, put together the analysis spreadsheet, and headed out to disconnect everything. I was better at it this time—it’s nice to be able to tell that you’re learning things! After disconnecting the DOMs, labeling them as having been tested this year, setting aside 4 spares, labeling which string they’re supposed to go on, and picking up after ourselves, we headed back for dinner. After dinner, a few of us had been thinking of walking out to the deployment site. This would have been really neat, but we started having some problems with our drill hose as they pulled the drill out—they had to replace some sections of it. So removing the drill took lots longer than expected, and deployment was postponed until at least 10 o’clock. So instead we walked out to see this Norwegian Traverse which is “in town”. They had invited all the station people out for an open house, and it was a lot neater than I expected. It’s basically like a traveling science station! They have a sonar sensor in the front to tell if they’re coming up on a crevasse, they have a radio antenna which checks for the reflections of the signal off the Antarctic continent beneath them, below the ice…if it reflects really well, it’s probably a lake—a liquid lake!—on the continent which has been insulated from freezing by the ice sheet. They think there are about four lakes at least—each around 10 miles wide by 30 miles long—and they intend to map them. They have ice core drilling equipment so they can do historical climate studies, and they even have a remote controlled airplane which was so cool on its own that I forget what it’s used for! You can see all these things in the photos.

On the way back we went looking for the FEMC. They were having a party where they pour drinks through some of our optically clear ice, which ought to have been photo worthy at least—again, the directions were “Look for all the people, you can’t miss it”. Um….no people. So we walked around, decided it couldn’t possibly have been worth it, and came back to the station.

On returning I went to the gym for the first time since arriving, and then—wonder of wonders—I showered! I’m clean! Clean clean clean! Boy howdy I tell you; those two minutes of hot water were just what the doctor ordered!

How cool is that? (Not cool at all, silly, it was hot water! Blessed, beautiful, bountiful--or not so bountiful--hot water!)


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