- What I had to go through to get here
is a most unpredictable time of year. It's taken over a week to make
it down here from the States. Here's a quick itinerary...
- Monday, 19 August
- Fly to Denver - pretty straightforward, no real problems.
- Tuesday, 20 August
- Orientation and flight to Los Angeles - complicated by DIA closing
for an hour due to tornadoes and by the plane (a Boeing 272) pulling
up to a DC-10-style gate.
- Wednesday, 21 August
- Wednesday has been postponed until further notice due to crossing
the International Date Line.
- Thursday, 22 August
- Arrival in N.Z. - complicated by the snows the previous night. Some
of us had an hour delay due to delayed takeoffs from other airports.
- Friday, 23 August
- Clothing issue - the usual hubbub, except that I was issued one bag
of my own clothing and one bag packed and tagged for someone else.
- Saturday, 24 August
- First attempt at departure - we arrived at 03:00, changed,
lined up for Sam, the drug dog, but never got that far: the plane
had mechanical difficulties. We were told there was a 48 hour delay.
- Sunday, 25 August
- Another near miss - first we got a call from the
CDC (on Saturday)
that we were going at 03:00, then, later, another call
that we weren't due to bad weather on the other end.
- Monday, 26 August
- Second attempt at departure - we arrived, again, at 03:00, changed,
got sniffed, queued up, waited in the depature lounge,
boarded buses, boarded the
launched, flew for 5 hours, then hit
(which is right over the airstrip), boomeranged due to high winds and
dubious visibility, flew 4 hours back and were told that we were going
to try again the next day.
- Tuesday, 27 August
- Third time's the charm - we arrive, this time at 05:00, change,
skip the checked-luggage check (because our bags are still on the
aircraft), get our handcarry sniffed, board the bosses, boad the
aircraft, fly for 5-1/2 hours, and, miracles of miracles,
arrive at McMurdo.
- Tuesday, 27 August, 1996
I'm back! On the second attempt to fly down here, we actually made it.
From what I've heard, the pilot yesterday had never landed here and
upon hearing the present weather conditions, turned back 25 minutes
before landing (at the actual landing time, the winds had actually
died down enough for a safe landing). The weather was warm -
7°F (-14°C), but the winds were a steady 25 knots. Once
we got back to town, the weather was fabulous; nobody could believe
that it's August. We filed into the
for our orientation lecture, got our room assignments and waited
around until we could fetch our luggage from the
- Wednesday, 28 August, 1996
Today was my first day back at work. It's going to take a few days
to get my office back in shape, especially now that I'm sharing it
with another computer, the
mail server. At least now, I've got a Sparc2 at my fingertips.
Last night, after I got my gear from the
I unpacked, went to chow, took a shower and crashed 'til breakfast
time this morning. Yesterday was long, starting at 05:00
as we did.
- Thursday, 29 August, 1996
Bingo last night was a big hit. This year's winter-over crowd is
much rowdier that we ever were. Winners had to run the gauntlet
of catcalls and wadded-up bingo cards to claim their prizes.
The full moon has been spectacular in the mornings. It's setting about
08:30 now, after hanging low over the mountains. We're getting about
six hours of light per day now. With all the delays, I missed some
of the best days for wierd light.
flight is due today. Mail distribution is scheduled for 18:00 at the
If I'm very lucky, the two packages I sent myself from
will be there. The other eagerly awaited item on the plane is a
(we were supposed to bring them on our flight, but after three days in
a heated plane, they were no longer deserving of the name).
- Friday, 30 August, 1996
No such luck. I didn't get my packages. The next flight isn't for
I saw some aurorae last night. There were a few faint ones visible
Point, but the best ones weren't until later. I was walking
over to the
Exposure (the wintertime coffee house), and right overhead were long
spears of green light. If it hadn't been so windy, I'd have headed up to
down by the Gym to get away from the lights of town. I watched for as
long as I could stand, then headed into the coffee house to warm up.
By the time I left, the aurorae had gone. It's been overcast and snowing
all day; it'll probably be a few days before we get enough clear sky
to see any more.
- Saturday, 31 August, 1996
I crashed after dinner again last night. I'm not getting out much, but
on the bright side, I'm up in plenty of time for a shower and a leisurely
breakfast. The sightseeing hasn't been all that great lately; it's been
snowing off and on for the past two days, with enough wind to keep things
all stirred up - 15 knots today, 25 knots yesterday. The heat wave
continues, though. It's still 7°F (-15°C); quite pleasant,
considering it's August. I heard from Lt. Fred Clark, last winter's OIC
(Officer In Charge) that it was a very mild winter - the high was
25°F (-3®C)! There was a pretty fierce storm this past Sunday:
98 knot winds in town (that's 113 mph for the landlocked crowd).
There was storm damage to multiple antennas, one dorm, and a shack was
lifted off the ground and deposited downrange a bit. It wasn't snowing,
so the visibility was good, just watch out for flying debris.
The party tonight in the
has been cancelled - one of the band members is sick. There was supposed
to be live music, drinks and dancing, but not now (I don't think that
the band (finny-us-Gauge) is scheduled for another gig until the end
of winter party on 28 September). I ended up in the coffee
house 'til about 00:30, then went over to karaoke night at
Erebus. I stuck it out 'til closing time, singing mostly Beatles
songs, then went straight home.