Saturday, December 8, 2007
Today we headed over to take a look at Scott base, the kiwi installation just around the island. It's much smaller, and cleaner looking. All of the buildings are the same green color, and all connected by hanging hallways, so that you don't have to go outside to get from place to place. We were going to meet up with a guide that we had met at Bonney with the BBC guys, but he was out doing some training. It's a bit odd, as he told us he would be in.
For those who wonder, we are scheduled to leave McMurdo on 12/11. We will leave New Zealand on 12/13. I won't know until 12/11, fairly late at night, when I get to Chicago, local time. Since we're leaving on 12/13, and we make up 17 hours coming back, I may well get home on 12/13. I will try to let people know, probably via txt. Some of you may have to make phone calls for me.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Looking out at the lake, seeing the buoy site where we worked, makes me feel like I've been here for years. It seems like it couldn't possibly have been just a month and a few days ago that we got to Hoare for the first time. It's all been so constant and draining, and mostly so foreign. Being in such a different place and learning such a different lifestyle makes everything seem to last much longer. Added to the frequent travel and contrasting landscapes, it may as well have been a year. It's not a bad thing, really, just a rare sort of feeling. Well, one more night in a tent.
Monday, December 3, 2007
So, it's been an interesting time here in the Valleys, where mummified seals and penguins are fairly commonplace. I've taken photos of all individuals I've found. They're all in various conditions, some just bones, some with skin, some with fur or feathers yet.
Mystery Revealed: Posted now on Flickr are ten my choosing. I didn't post the most disturbing of them (there's nothing quite as unsettling as an eyeball that hasn't rotten away in a skull without any skin), in part because it's a public forum, and in part because none of you were expecting it. All photos are of different individuals, not all individuals that I have found will be online. Finally, none of you asked why Mummy Pond was called Mummy Pond!!!! Come on! What a lead in! Oh well.
On a completely different note, bad weather has set in. We're still at Bonney for now.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Today I took a walk to Mummy Pond. It was about two hours away, but a pleasant walk. The winds were picking up, but sun dominated until I got there. I was warm enough anyways, and the scenery was nice. There's a high road and a low road, I took the high in and the short out. Up on the bluffs were boulders glaciers. The winds are pretty good across that stretch of land, so many of the rocks were sculpted. It was pretty cool to be able to look down on the lower route, which is an outwash plain of Suess Glacier when the full melt season is on. There were two streams flowing, but it is still colder here than usual. Generally by now the streams are in full bore and you can hear ice calving off of the glaciers frequently. Leave it to me to pick the cold year... The low path was mostly sand and flat. In many places wind and water left ripples in the sand, as if to speak of a beach long since gone. There weren't so many sculpted rocks here, but the contrast was pleasant. Mummy pond itself is smaller than any of the lakes I've been to. It's small enough that the ice is smooth all the way across. There is still ice movement, however. It doesn't form abrupt walls there, rather it swells up, sometimes more than a meter, creating odd and unexpected ice domes. It was a pleasant day, and a hike I've been trying to make since we got to Bonney, but could never find the time for.
One last note, true believers. Tomorrow will see the unveiling of my super mystery photo album extravaganza via my Flickr account (assuming i have the internet still). I haven't decided how many images will be included in the album, but I'm thinking maybe 10 or 15. I have more to chose from that would be appropriate, but don't want to go bananas. For those of you keeping score, I've now taken 984 images (admittedly some of those are work related and I managed to get a few of the floor of the CDC....). Still, you've been warned! When you ask to seem them, expect many!
Friday, November 30, 2007
And, to top it off, it's snowing in the driest place on Earth. Chances are we won't get our flight tomorrow due to weather, and they don't fly on Sundays, so we won't have our cables and cutters until Monday, which means our Monday move becomes a Tuesday move, our Tuesday a Wednesday, and our Wednesday a Thursday. Hopefully we're not delayed too much more...
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
That much aside, the day was alright I guess. We got the first UW PAR (under water photosynthetically active radiation) replacement logging. We should be done with Jiffy drills, as the lake level measurement has been completed. This is good news for my neck and shoulder. The hot water drill is in today, and we've got to play with it to see how it works. If it does its job, this will be the first step in permanently replacing all Jiffy drills on Ice. Yay us. I made June's Chicken for dinner, which was tasty, sad, and nostalgically pleasant all at once. There's been no time for hiking lately, but I'm hopeful for the weekend. There are two places I'd like to get to before we move on. One of them (is not crucial but) would be helpful to the mystery photo album extravaganza which I'm sure you're all (chirp, chirp) anticipating (read: have completely forgotten about) greatly by now. And at this point it would be good to remember that it's 1:30, and sometimes it's good to sleep.
By the by, the Blood Falls pics finally made it up. They're pretty damn neat.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Today we went to Blood Falls (which is conveniently near one of our ablation stakes). Blood Falls is a section of Taylor Glacier that is very aptly named (see Flickr.com [search for jpwarnock] a few minutes after I finish this). It's an entirely geologic phenomenon (I can explain if you really care); biology has nothing to do with the color. Some people say it is the most interesting looking place on the continent. I'm not sure that I'd go that far, but it was pretty damn cool. Following our viewing of the Falls, we spent some time with one of the other science groups out here, who make their camp there. They're cutting (with chainsaws, dear god!) into Taylor Glacier. They've cut a tunnel, sevenish feet tall, three feet across, and some 20ish meters into the glacier. Then the started cutting down, to the glacier bed. They're looking for bacteria living in the ice. These organisms are especially prevalent near sediment, but do exist throughout. Seeing the entrance to their site (I couldn't go in the tunnel because a stream has flooded their entrance, just a day after they finished. Lucky boys.) is quite bizarre. It's like there's a door going into the glacier. Just a big, dark, rectangular hole in the ice, not a site I'm likely to see again (it will take about a year for the glacier to heal itself. all things considered, I think that's damn quick). I think in my own right I've spent a fair amount of time down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass, but this is something altogether different.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
We finished another drill hole today, and got a third as close to done as we can until we have an available melter. I took a ride by myself to fill the Hotsy that we do have running, and the view was spectacular. All of the little ice peaks, like frozen waves, caught the golden sunlight in a million places. But here a thousand blue, and here a thousand red and every other color you could need pulled from light split by ice.
It was a pretty productive day, but as the day wore on, things fell apart. Our generator on the East Lobe is broken, as is our Hotsy, and now the Limno generator is down too. The ATV is allegedly having problems, but I am skeptical. So for every success, a setback. Still, work got done, and tomorrow will be the ablation stakes, which will be a nice trip around the East and West Lobes.
Deciding to retreat after dinner before something else broke, I headed up hill. The mountain behind Bonney camp is exposed bedrock at the top, and I wanted to have a look. It's also one of the better spots to find ventifacts around here. The things were quite massive, some rocks more than fifteen feet tall and five feet thick sitting in place all carved with holes and tunnels and spires and groves and pits. By the time i hit the top of the hill, I was actually getting frustrated that there were so many I wanted to look at. At this point I'm pretty ready for bed, so it's off to the tent again.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
:the slime attached to Brancker buoys when you pull them out of a frozen lake smells very, very bad.
:that ridge, the one over east, in the direction of the ocean, the one you can only see sky over, is neither the farthest nor the highest ridge.
:stream team boys who are working late at F6, but have to pee, will not bother getting dressed for their trip to the barrel, but will rather run very fast in a t-shirt and gym shorts.
:INXS, through Jethro Tull, to Jimmy Eat World seems to take about three hours, when one's coworker does not decided to push stop when one leaves.
:a simple picture will often brighten one's day, even when there is 24 hour daylight.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
After I got back we went to drill our last hole here. In the course of drilling, we managed to cut the damn cables we were trying to free. So, either we spend a few extra days at Fryxell pulling the thing (an underwater temperature sensor) out without just sending it to the bottom of the lake, or Peter deals with it later. Maybe he'll dive for it. We were both pretty impressed that we cut the cable. The drill edge was at least six inches away from it. The continent is accident prone. :( Well, it's almost midnight and we have an early morning tomorrow. JabberWocky over and out.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Well, the good news is they fixed the internet. So it'll be working for a while, now. Also, no yetti attacks.
The bad news is that we had a hell of a day drilling. Our lake level hole was too close to shore, although I don't know how it could have been. So, after drilling three meters of ice, we hit the sandy bottom. Two drill blades were sacrificed (read: obliterated beyond recognition) in deciding that this was the bottom, and not just a sand pocket in the ice. After that we had to move to a new possition, which it looked like was going to be a loss until water sprang out at the last minute. So, a one hour job took all day. I was going to go hike around Fryxell basin for a bit, but now I don't know if I have the energy. Also, ice goblins have decided that this would be a great place to put lots of happy foot traps which cause one or your feet to suddenly be six inches below the other.
And our base radio is out of whack, so we only have the hand radios. That means that if we want to contact McMurdo (for our daily required check in, as an example) we get to walk up the hill and hold our hand helds really high and hope we get through. And the day started out so well....
Sunday, November 11, 2007
And we're packing. Tomorrow we will fly to Lake Fryxell. Fryxell is just over Canada Glacier from Hoare, actually the two would be lake Froare if it wasn't for the glacier. So we won't be going far, but it will be a completely different view. It will just be Meda and I there, too. That means we'll be doing the cooking now and such. So far this season, Fryxell station has been without internet. While Coms is working on that, there's a pretty good chance I'll have no net for a week or so. That means I'm probably signing off for now...
Friday, November 9, 2007
After dinner I walked to the other end of Lake Hoare. It was a bit more than an hour to get there. With the snow finally blown away, the lake is completely different. You've never seen so many shades of blue. And there are so many patters of bubbles in the ice, too. Some are like feathers, or pancakes, or strings coming straight up, or crazy curvy brain patterns. I did some sample collection, too. That was a relief, to have it started. I'll get some more pictures up (if the internet will let me), before we go back to work.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Well, after a bit of magic we had generators again. We just warmed the damn things. I could understand that helping, except that the first day we used them, it was -30. Today it was -5. . . That's bunches and bunches warmer already. Once again, what use is a single data point? So, we had some success today. We got some drilling done, and some surveying. We're still behind, but it shouldn't be much of an issue. I'm much to tired to go walking around, plus my new homework just got posted. I'm sure I'll learn plenty being this tired and... right. So I guess it's a short one today. G'night.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Mom: Only you, Matt, and Brian have the link. I was pretty lazy. Also, speaking of ice fantasy, funny you should mention (i had the idea before i read your post, i promise)...
Right. Spent 8 hours trying to get two generators to work today to no avail. /Very/ frustrating.
Read the below as if it was being narrated to you, out loud, if you must. That will make the repetition bearable.
Right. Impossible, you say? Well, when you're not working, or swearing at machines; if you're alone, or enjoying yourself, or driving the ATV (read: snow speeder), then yes, impossible. So, picture, if you will, a character, very much like yourself.....
You are alone and walking. It's quite cold; you know that. The ice, a few hundred feet high and just to your right, is happy to remind you. Still, you are hot; you strip. The fleece is gone. You walk. The down coat is replaced with the flimsy windbreaker. The hills go up, even when they slope downward. The glove liners and scarf go both at once.
You're walking alone, but can't think of a reason why you should be alone. Who would come to this place with no one else? What could possibly bring a lone soul here? What quest, what task, what journey, divine or mundane, would convince an individual to do this? Yet, the fact remains, you are quite alone. So, there must be companions. The reasons for their lack shove at each other, begging for purchase in your mind as you do in the sand and snow. Did you leave them behind because they had other things to do? Is your reason for leaving so personal that they had to be left? Is the journey so dangerous that you couldn't risk more than one? Or, maybe they have already been taken down by this place, dead or crippled.
You're thoughts break. There are tracks ahead, yours two days old. There are two long gouges in the snow where you fell, feet sliding. A single hand print is above them; a Passata di Soto if you will.
You continue to the top of a ridge, panting. A rock, the size of a Volkswagon provides a seat. For a moment, the comparison seperates your self from your Self. The only sound, as you stop, is the sound of you stopping. Having paused fully, the silence becomes full.
Walking again, only a few steps, you slip. You are no longer on the footpath, you realize. Righting yourself, you continue only to slip again. The Count di Soto is not there for you this time. Instinct puts a foot beneath you, the slide is short. Looking around, you realize that the rock you paused at this time is the rock you stopped at last time. You are no longer on familiar ground. The path, however, reveals itself below you.
Going down to meet it, you are at the ice again. This close, you can see that the columns and cracks look like ribs. You know the ice is old, very old. But from here, you know the ice is alive. You have to stop and take a picture. This time, the technology does not shatter the illusion. There are many Roles to Play. Walking, again, of course, up, the snow breaks beneath you. It is a reminder that there is a grave, of sorts, not far from here. Does the snow crunch, or are you cracking ribs.
Looking up, you see the Flag. The one that marks the path. It's so easy to do that, here, to get lost in yourself, lost in that over there, or this over here. Every time you turn your head, you are struck by a revelation of sight. The flag, so close, and it's twin. But your panting is loud enough to catch your attention. Just go to the flags, then stop. A half second's hesitation. Just go to the flags. Your knees, now, are as 'loud' as your breath. A second's hesitation, just go to the flags. You reach them, finally, and sit. Now it's the hat and the gloves that go. You know, having reached the flags, that the hills will no longer go up, even when they go down. Now they will simply go up.
So, I went on a hike today....
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Aside from that, it was a very pretty day. Fairly warm (we almost hit freezing) for a while. Amazingly windy in the morning, but calming for the most part the rest of the day. I got some more pics, which I have to review yet, but at least some of them must be good. It's even more amazing being among all of the windblown ice sculpture than it is being aside it.
I only took a short hike today. Some pictures from that will follow, but only after I've done a few more things. . . Maybe I'll go out a bit after the generator. I don't know if I could get comfortable enough to sleep right now in that small bag. I think thats all for now.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
In other news, Ann Curry from the Today Show is here. She's quite a bitch (forgive me, but it's true), and neither her nor her film crew care about the people or science that is happening here. They just want a story, and expect the station to stop and start on their whim. I spend about two hours with her today (her flight was just before mine, and there's quite a bit of prep, then she was at LH with Meda and I), and she never once asked what I (or Meda, for that matter) was there for. The entire crew was just trying to figure out how quickly they could finish. When the were interviewing someone, the sound and camera guys would turn away to catch a passing helo or plane. However, if you are interested in seeing the show (I can't imagine I'll be in it, despite running into her a few times over the past few days, and being in the Valleys with them today) the information is provided below.
Greetings from Antarctica.
The broadcast schedule follows:
Today Show Day 1: Nov 5-6, 11pm - 3:15am McMurdo Time// //Nov 5, 5am -
9:15am Eastern// // Nov 5, 3am - 7:15am Mountain
Today Show Day 2: Nov 6-7, 11pm - 3:15am McMurdo Time// //Nov 6, 5am -
9:15am Eastern// // Nov 6, 3am - 7:15am Mountain
NBC Nightly News: Nov 7, 12:15pm - 1:00pm McMurdo Time// //Nov 6, 6:15pm
- 7:00pm Eastern// // Nov 6, 4:15pm - 5:00pm Mountain