Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weather delay

We were scheduled to fly this morning to New Harbor, but we woke up to falling snow. This is what it looks like at McMurdo Station right now:

Our friend Peggy models in the snow. (Peggy runs the Food Room where we get all of our field rations.)

The bad weather has made visibility very poor. That means we're stuck in McMurdo, because the helicopters can't fly when visibility is poor. If we can't see across the sound to the Dry Valleys on the mainland, we're not able to fly there. This is the view from our lab window right now. Normally you can see straight across McMurdo Sound to view the mountains on the mainland (which is where we're trying to go). You can't even see them today!

We're technically only delayed right now, so there's a chance we'll get out later, but it's not looking good! If we don't get out today, we'll be stuck in McMurdo until Wednesday, because of the Christmas holiday. That would be bad, because we have work to do out in the Dry Valleys!

Getting ready for the field

We've spent the past two days at McMurdo Station getting ready to go to the field. We've had several different training sessions (too many!), and we've unpacked and set up our gear. We then packed it all back up again and dropped it off at the helicopter hangar. We've gathered together all of our camping and survival gear, which is also at the helicopter hangar. Currently, we have a total of 1,149 pounds of gear at the hangar to fly into the field tomorrow. And that doesn't even count the weight for the three of us and our bags of clothing and other personal gear! We're scheduled to fly by helicopter tomorrow morning to New Harbor, our first field site.

At New Harbor, we won't have internet connection, so it will be a few days before I'm able to post. But after Christmas, we will fly to our next field site at Lake Hoare, where I will be able to get online.