The weather here has been good. It is not really cold yet, it has been getting into the upper 30's. It does rarely rain, but we normally get snow. The snow rarely amounts to much. The precipitation is so small, that I am in a desert. Not all deserts are hot like many people think. There is very little snow in the town of McMurdo, but there are ice fields and glaciers all around. The ice and snow there is accumulated over many years. Scientists drill down in the ice, and can measure pollution going back many years.
Presently the sun is up 24 hours a day! The sun just circles in the sky. On February 21, we will have the first sunset of the year. I have not played at all in the snow while I have been here. I played more in the snow while I was home over the holidays.
Thanks for writing,
Hi Nickle, I am doing fine, and I do not think I will shave my beard. I may even let it grow longer.
I am going to snow school tomorrow. I will be going out overnight to camp, and learn about surviving in the cold. I will write about the school when I get time.
Thanks for writing,
I guess these are your questions. Must be the kid in you! I have been planning to write the intro for the kidlink, but have been really busy. I have not forgotten.
Question: Are there any crevasses near McMurdo?
There are none in town, all we have here is volcanic rock. Out of town on the ice and glaciers, they can be a real problem. The problem is they can be covered lightly with ice or snow. One false step, and you can fall hundreds of feet. There are people that are experts in mapping safe routes, and marking them with flags. You just do not go off the routes. Even the marked routes have problems. A common way to take heavy supplies is by traverse over the ice, instead of air. I have heard a story of a man that was running a bulldozer a few years ago, and fell into a crevasse. He was safely rescued.
Question: What causes a crevasse?
I do not know.....
Questions: How will they lower you and bring you back up out of a crevasse?
I will tell you about it when I get back.
Question: What did Mr. Matt do at the South Pole? Will he write and tell us?
Matt has made 2 trips to the pole since we have been here, with another trip this Saturday. Matt has started a story, and we have been working on converting the pictures. He has 50-60 pictures of the pole trip, and will send a select few when he sends the story.
Matt and I are both a little crispy. I hope the work schedule levels off after a while. I only worked 12 hours today. That is the norm lately. Matt is working late tonight, probably until about midnight. I am going in early tomorrow morning, then going to snow school. I think I can work it to take Saturday off. I will be getting in from sleeping halfway to nowhere, and will probably need a little more rest. Gee, this may be my first day off, if you do not count the school. Not only are we in the the first operational period of the station, but we are having to learn the site. In addition to all the equipment, we have 2 HP UNIX machines, a Sun Unix machine, 4 PCs with one running OS2, 2 DECs, and a MAC. I gotta learn some extra operating systems here Patti.
Question: How long did the Russian tourists stay? What did they do while they were at McMurdo? Did they go to Scott's Hut?
I am not sure where they went other than the store, and walking tours. They were only here for a day or so. We have about 4 other cruise ships coming in the next few weeks, as well as the supply ship and the oil tanker. In case you are interested, the cost of a cruise is 7-20 thousand per person.
Question: You are smart to put your mukluk liners in your sleeping bag. Will you sleep in a tent outside? Won't you freeze?
I am not sure if I will be in a tent or an igloo. I hope I do not freeze, but there is a warming hut at the school site, where we can go if it gets too bad. The idea is to teach respect for the environment, as well as how to stay alive if stranded.
Question: What are whiteouts? How can you see a crevasse in a whiteout?
Whiteouts are times of zero visibility, where the blowing snow makes it impossible to see. Sometimes you can not even see crevasses in good visibility.
Quesiton: Why doesn't it rain more often?
There was an article about the rain in the Sunday paper, which is all of about 4 pages. It is normally too cold and dry, but occasionally we get the weird weather. I will see if I can get the article for more information.
David Hess NK3T