Today we had the real deal Antarctica. We started off the day working on the drill. It was a bit cloudy and cold but didn’t seem to be all that worrisome.
Within a matter of minutes we had 30-40 mph winds and white out conditions. We were forced to pack up camp and trundle on back inside for a safety stand down. Station declared condition 1 weather which is not safe to be out working in.
I wouldn’t be down here on the Ice without the support of my wife, Becky (Boss #1). I am thankful everyday on the Ice that she understands why I come here and allows me to do so. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Also shown are Becky’s housemates and moral support team Taiga and (a new addition to the family) Ginger.
Looking into the engine of the C-17 in New Zealand.
This is surely the most critical piece of cargo on the flight. Its a pallet full of Juicy Juice. Thats right. Juice boxes. Apparently this is going out to the WISSARD camp later in the season. Juice boxes are real popular on the Ice for some reason.
C-17 from McChord AFB out of Fort Lewis, WA. I think I actually saw this plane at the Portland Airport at the beginning of my trip South.
The cavernous interior of the C-17.
Observation Hill. There is a webcam at the top that updates every few seconds here:
This is pretty neat!
Nice to see some motorcycles on station.
Somebody brought down their Pugsley. That’s really neat.
The “Gerbil Gym”. I’ve been running in here since the roads are pretty sketchy with Ice these days. The strange (but awesome) entrance to the gym is shown below. What a time to be alive!
This is what an Antarctic Winter will do to equipment left outside. These are our high pressure pump sleds that were covered with tarps. Snow finds its way through regardless of the tiniest of holes.
We have just begun to get our equipment set up out on the sea ice. In the upcoming days we will be digging out everything, setting up a shelter to work out of and preparing the drill for the SIMPLE project (more on that later).
It seems like just yesterday that I was in a rental car eating beef jerky with two strangers driving north from San Francisco to Eugene Oregon on my last leg of the trip home from Antarctica. I had made it all the way to San Fran and it was beautiful weather. An ideal day for flight. However, Chicago didn’t agree and had log jammed most air traffic to and from the West coast. So, I found two other guys needing to go North and we drove 12 hours to arrive in Eugene at 1 AM. Becky met me in Eugene after a couple cups of coffee and an hours drive in the rain. She hadn’t seen me without a beard in several years and was slightly concerned to be remembered what my face actually looked like.
The year flew by and I’m back down on the ice again for two hot water drilling projects (more on that in a later post.) Folks always say that your first season on the ice is for the adventure, your second is for the money and the 3rd is because you don’t fit in anywhere else. I haven’t exactly been following that model but close. My antarctic evolution would look something like this:
Season 1; Adventure (everything is new). I’d work for free. I love this.
Season 2: Adventure (more familiar but still new enough). This is awesome. So happy to get paid to this.
Season 3: Adventure (very familiar, this is awesome…still) Nice to see familiar faces and get more experience hot water drilling. This is awesome. This work and environment feeds my soul. Can someone please teleport Becky down?
Following this post will be some pictures taken on the trip down and of the few days I’ve been on the Ice for season 3. Stay Tuned.