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Ann Curry Salad

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wrote by Laura on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007 @ 8:27 am

So we have a celebrity at McMurdo for the next week or so - Ann Curry from the Today Show is here. I have yet to have a sighting but considering how small this place is, I imagine I’ll catch a glimpse at some point. The galley had Ann Curry Salad last night in her honor. I didn’t eat any, BUT IT LOOKED AWESOME. ;)

 Weather fiends: we’ve had some hellacold days - it didn’t get above -8 for a few days there, with a windchill of -30. Also, the sun never sets now, so it was really weird walking out of the Coffee House last night at 11 and having it be completely light out.

 And HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

BIG FUN at the Halloween Party

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wrote by Laura on Monday, October 29th, 2007 @ 5:57 pm

As one might expect, Halloween is a big deal down on the Ice, and we have a big party every year to celebrate it. This weekend was our big to-do, and it was pretty crazy! BUT we only had to have one person Medevac’d to Christchurch, so I guess it wasn’t too wild. (Actually it is - when it’s bad enough to fly a whole C-17 to Christchurch just to move one injured person, it’s not good.) With Canterbury Draft on sale for $1 a can (that’s New Zealand’s answer to Pabst I think) there was definitely some overindulgence.

It’s sort of like a high school party, but with beer. We decorate the gym and everyone comes over after school!

But my excellent co-workers in Rec did a superior job decorating and putting on the whole shindig - here are some pics of the decorations:


This is the big spider that took over the gym, affectionately known as Big Fun.


Carnage on the climbing wall.


“When Robots Attack” during the costume contest. The robot managed to attack the emcee, all the contestants, and the NSF Station Manager. He also managed to fall off the stage and break his glasses. He remembers nothing of this. Kids, don’t drink and wear boxes and stuff on your body.

However, do note the National Geographic guy - he looked great!


A general shot of the crowd. It was a great party - yet another wild and crazy gathering on the Ice!

Cool Quarters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wrote by Laura on Monday, October 22nd, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

Hehe, well, not that cool. In fact, they turn the heater up really high in our building - I was roasting last night. Here’s a picture of my dorm - lovely 201:

And here’s my bed - my room is too small for me to get much of a picture of the whole thing:

And look! It’s Robert Plant! Yay Robert!

Safety First!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wrote by Laura on Sunday, October 21st, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

In Antarctica, since we live in a protected environment, we have to be really conscious of what goes in the ground. Which brings us to today’s photo of the day:

The general chaos you see here is from a spill of dangerous material - BEER! These folks dropped a case of beer, and some of the bottles broke. The spill team had to come out and clean it up and make sure there wasn’t any environmental damage.

Back to work now - I’ll have more pictures later but I thought I’d just share this one with you today.

For the weather fiends - I didn’t catch the temperature today but I think it’s supposed to be in the negative teens if the wind keeps up, but might get up to around 4 degrees if it dies down.

So Tired

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wrote by Laura on Friday, October 19th, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

Hi everyone! I’m not going to be writing much for a few more days since we have end-of-month inventory and I’m extremely busy! Hopefully I’ll get back to you when that’s done with more pictures!

The Rockies ROCK!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wrote by Laura on Tuesday, October 16th, 2007 @ 8:27 pm

Just had to give a little cheer out to Ryan, the Spirit of the Rockies! AMAZING - the World Series in Denver, and I’m missing all the fun! But GO ROCKIES - they have lots of fans, even in Antarctica!!

(Also for you weather fiends, it was glorious today - it was about 12 degrees F with wind at around 10 knots. So a windchill of roughly -4. I was walking around with no hat or gloves and my coat open - it felt hot out!)

Maps!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wrote by Laura on Monday, October 15th, 2007 @ 7:39 pm

Here’s a map of the island I live on, Ross Island (click the image to enlarge).

Ross Island Map

McMurdo is at the end of the long spit of land at the bottom of the island. Erebus is the mountain on the left, and Mount Terror is on the right. Terror is a dormant volcano. If you look at the map carefully, you can see where the permanent ice is - it’s grayer than the water on the map.

Here’s a simple map of Antarctica (click the image to enlarge). McMurdo is located near the Ross Ice Shelf.

Antarctica Map

Living and Working ON THE ICE

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wrote by Laura on Monday, October 15th, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

Since some of you don’t necessarily know what I do down here on the Ice, I thought I’d write a bit today on what it is like to live and work at McMurdo, and write about what I do a little bit. (Now that I’ve been down for a week, which seems like a month, I feel like I’m qualified to say!)

My current job here is as a Beverage/Recreation Accounting Clerk, and I work in the Recreation department. I work for a company called NANA Services. It is a subcontractor of a Raytheon. Most of the day-to-day operations of the station are run by these two companies, as well as companies that fly the planes and helicopters.

My job is to keep track of the finances of the handful of places on the Ice where you can spend your money - the bars and the Station Store. McMurdo has three bars - Southern Exposure, Gallagher’s, and the Coffee House. I count all the money and keep track of all the beverage inventory. When people ask me what my job is, I tell them I am the Vice Girl - I handle the alcohol, the tobacco, the money, the movies and the chocolate! It’s very busy, with lots to do, because really and truly, there’s not much people can spend their money on!

This sort of gets to what it is like to live at McMurdo. It’s not very big (1,100 people max!), you’re limited in where you can go to a handful of trails, and you have a roommate. So it’s very different than the life most people are coming from. For this reason, it’s a good thing that we’re working 6 9-hour days (or for some, 5 12-hour days!) - it keeps you good and busy! However, the function of my department is to give people things to do on the days and times they have off. So there is a music room, with instruments you can check out (guitars, a bass, keyboards, etc.), you can rent skis, you can do things in the craft room, or you can chill out in the library. We coordinate the different activities that go on here, like concerts and classes and trips.

It’s really different being down here - not just because it’s cold with no plants (and no bugs!) It’s a different way of life, which takes some adjusting. There are lots of people around all the time, and it’s not easy to have private time. But the good thing is that most of the people who make it down here are nicer and more interesting than average, so it really makes it fun.

McMurdo - my home!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wrote by Laura on Sunday, October 14th, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

Hello again! It’s been a long first week here at Mactown - it seems like I’ve been here a month! There is a lot of meeting new people and so on, so it gets tiring! For the most part, though, the people are very nice and generally friendly (sometimes a little bit quirky!), which makes it easier to get along.

Here’s a photo of part of McMurdo:

These are a number of the main living and working areas in McMurdo. The four similar buildings in the back are dorms (not my dorm - it’s off the picture on the far right), and the dining hall building where I work is on the right, just in front of the rightmost dorm. Believe it or not, that sort of dirty open area behind those dorms is the Ice Pier, where they do all the vessel offloading. It’s frozen solid now but eventually it will be open water, and that dirty spot, which is ice bound with steel and concrete (not sure how that works!) will be the only ice in the bay.

Some of the other buildings include the Chalet, which is the NSF’s headquarters, and the Crary Lab, which is the main science building. 

This is a picture of the historic Hut Point, taken from above the town. There is a building at the lowest point of the jut of land, and that is the hut that Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery expedition built in 1901-1904. They built the hut out of Jarrah wood from Australia, in an Australian fashion, with wide verandahs and a high ceiling - which is excellent for the hot Australian climate but doesn’t work so well for the Antarctic. The hut is a short, 20-minute hike from town.

Those two little dark things in the background are vehicles driving on the sea ice.

Finally, here’s a picture of our friendly neighborhood volcano, Mt Erebus. That little bit of cloud you see at the top is steam, because Erebus is a pretty active volcano! You can’t see Erebus from town very well, but my department drove up to the side of one of the hills and it was amazing how close it was!

ICE PICTURES!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wrote by Laura on Thursday, October 11th, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

OK, OK….here are Ice Pictures, as promised!

Here I am, visiting the cockpit of the C-17 as we began to fly over the Trans-Antarctic Mountains. This is when I REALLY began to get excited.

This was the view from the window of the cockpit. The lumps in the snow are mountains, ranging between 8,000 and 10,000 feet. This was my first view of the continent!

On the ground, finally! But it was COLD! And as you might be able to tell, it was WINDY! We landed on the sea ice, so all that white ground you see was actually rippled and sort of bluish. I didn’t get a picture of the ice because I was running like crazy to get to the vehicle. This photo was taken from the warmth of the airporter.

Here are my peeps in the airporter. Notice the fellow with the bow tie - that’s Fleet, the dentist. I have yet to see him NOT wearing a dress shirt and bow tie.

After this, I was tired and vaguely stunned, so I didn’t take any more pictures that day. But next time, I’ll have some pictures of town for you!

Thanks to all my fans at Jimbo aka James’s office! I’m glad you’re interested and I hope I can provide you more interesting adventures!