Christmas in McMurdo
Here's a Christmas card from Antarctica.
I had hoped to be farther toward our
goal of the ice shelf,
but an airplane (a refitted DC-3) we were counting on to move our cargo had
an "incident" and is out for the season. In its place, the larger
cargo plane (a ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules) may be able to land close enough
to the ice
shelf we want to go to that we can still complete our season. This change
has caused delays because the potential landing site must be checked out carefully
for safety (no crevasses) and snow
conditions (not too soft, not too hard and not too sticky) before the "Herc"
will attempt to land.
Our cargo is all packed and we are ready to be flown out to the larger WAIS-Divide
camp, but these delays have forced our group to spend Christmas in McMurdo.
It was a two-day holiday and a chance for the hard-working folks here to relax,
party and relax some more. As luck would have it, there was a medical emergency
at South Pole that forced a flight
to bring the injured person to McMurdo and, after evaluation, flown immediately
New Zealand. Some of the air crew grumbled about having their holiday disrupted,
but with everyone here the job gets done when the job must get done. They are
For us, the wait is on. Unlike the "old
days", there is a reasonably good Internet connection to stay up to
speed on office work back home and there is always the unfinished scientific
paper to work on. Even more valuable is the chance to have some relaxed discussions
with the diverse set of scientists here. Even though we aren't able to execute
the program we came here to do, we will make good use of our time while waiting.
Go to the next postcard
Postcards from the Field: Pine Island Glacier