- Saturday, 1 February 1997
The ship's store is packed; it's the last day to buy liquor before the
vessel arrives. It's also the last night that the bars are open. I'm
going out to the Instructor's Hut for the Third Annual "Rocking The
Ice Shelf" party.
- Sunday, 2 February 1997
The party went until 03:00. I got out to the Instructor's Hut around
21:30. The shuttle dropped us off at the intersection of the flagged
and the flagged route to the Instructor's Hut, about a kilometer out.
The music from the hut was audible quite a ways out. It was an excellent
night for jamming and hanging out. There were some high, thin, wispy
clouds, not enough to block the sun, but just enough to take the warm
edge off. At least it was fairly calm. After taking a turn or two
on the didjeridu and playing bass for a set, I crashed out in one of the
For dinner, I still had some of the Antarctic Cod and Coconut Shrimp
left over and there was a grill set up outside
so I took the opportunity to cook it all up. It started snowing big
fluffy flakes while I was still tending the grill; I got some one to
take a picture of me to show the folks back home the lengths we go
to for a bit of fun.
Looking for something to do, I went to
after dinner. It's been re-opened for ship's offload, but with no booze.
Predictably, the place was a tomb. I think there were three customers
the entire night.
- Monday, 3 February 1997
Big rush at mail room.
Greenwave arrives after dinner.
- Tuesday, 4 February 1997
Greenwave arrived, ship offload underway. Roads closed, doors blocked
off, bus stop moved.
Last radio show?
- Wednesday, 5 February 1997
The ship's store is open tonight with new stuff from vessel. The line
was out the door, around the corner and past the barber shop.
With the wine bar in the
closed and all, Mike and Steve came over to the room for an evening
of wine and cheese. Mike brought with him cheese he purchased on his
recent trip back to New Zealand, and his latest batch of pictures.
Chris and I both groaned at the snapshots of Mike's trip north on
with the Prime Minister - real seats (not cargo webbing),
real food on real china plates (not a stale
sandwich from a brown paper bag), and, of all things, beer!
There's a great shot of Mike toasting the camera with a big smile
and his glass raised high. It's a rough life at the top. The rest
of us have 8-1/2 hours crammed into 18" of webbing with 49
other people trying to eat and/or sleep, looming in our future,
not that it's a shock or anything.
Still, I'd rather redeploy on
an LC-130 than in a
The people leaving on March 7 for reverse-WinFly will be packed in
that '141 like sardines with no room for the oil. The last count
I heard was 130 northbound
and no room for any excess cargo. We came down with 97 and it was
nearly impossible to get out of your seat, even to go to the
- Thursday, 6 February 1997
I heard in the weekly staff meeting that I'm not going
north on the M/V Greenwave; I'm outta here on the 19th on a
It's a relief, actually. I've been sitting on the edge for a
week, not sure how or when I was going home. With the boat
leaving on Saturday, I wasn't going to have much time to do
a lot of last minute little things, like back up my Amiga. It
would have been different to go out by ship, but there's always
another chance another year.
- Friday, 7 February 1997
in town... two-star Admiral and Command Master Chief of the
Navy (the only E-10).
- Saturday, 8 February 1997
The D.V. flight from Pole had blowout on the main cargo door seal in
mid-flight. They had to fly back to Pole, unpressurized, at the
lowest altitude possible and scramble another LC-130 to pick up the
DVs. Lots of folks going Home got bumped because that aircraft was
scheduled for a run to Chch.
Ship offload not finished, departure delayed. No party tonight.
- Sunday, 9 February 1997
Party in D-207 lounge last night went past 03:00. Both the
Greenwave and the
departed today. The next boat scheduled in is the M/V Bremen,
a tourist boat, on the 10th. The
is also due in this week. The crew for this cruise showed up on
yesterday's southbound flight. I saw Yon at dinner last night,
and again at the
showing this afternoon.
With the departure of the vessel, things are starting to return to
was open again, and the
was serving wine and spiked coffee. I stopped by both places and made
an early night of it.
- Monday, 10 February 1997
No Bremen today. The ice in the channel was too thick. The
Kapt. Klebnikov is due in on Thursday. It's a converted
Russian icebreaker, unlike the Marco Polo and the Bremen, and
should have no problem getting here. We've got so much open
water that I expect the tourists to be coming ashore on zodiacs,
not in the rickety Russian helicopter.
Dinner was halfway decent for a change - Potato soup, beef strips,
tofu in black bean sauce.
- Tuesday, 11 February 1997
It turned cold today, +1°F (-16°C) with 23 knots of wind
for a windchill of colder than -45°F (-43°C). If this
keeps up, I'll have to dress warmer. The
Nathaniel B. Palmer
pulled up to the pier this morning. I was inside and missed the
whole thing. I need to get some pictures of it now: the wind is kicking
up mist as though the seas were boiling. I've never seen this place look
anything like this.
- Thursday, 13 February 1997
The Kaptain Klebnikov passed through today. I gave a tour of
to the first wave of tourists. I took them through an analytical
lab, past the environment rooms (walk-in, constant temperature
freezers/refrigerators), past the offices and up to the public
computer area. After my group, five more toured the lab; when I
left for the day, the last group was just finishing up.
After the tours of town were done, but before all the tourists came
we McMurdo tour guides were invited onto the boat by the Klebnikov
tour guides. Because there was open water in front of the station,
we took zodiacs, hard-bottomed inflatables that seat about 12. The
water was just starting to freeze up; we chugged through a thin layer
of ice that was more slush than anything else, but it was strong
enough to support the weight of a
skua. I sat near the bow, taking
pictures the whole way.
Once on the boat, we split up into several smaller groups. My group
hit the ship's store first. A few pins and a T-shirt later, I made
my way forward to the bar where we were treated to an open bar. It
was excellent to taste beer that was a) fresh and b) not a flavor I'd
had before. It was Austrian beer, a lager, with a sharp hoppy taste,
but I can't remember the name. All too soon, it was time to go; the
tourists were returning and the sooner we left, the sooner they'd get
dinner. I took the long way back to the zodiac to get some photos
of Mactown and the
from a new and rare angle.
My nautical adventures went so late that I missed dinner. No big
loss. I got to the
as they were putting the food away. Someone offered to give me a
go at the bins, but I saw the selections written in grease pencil
above the steam line - Veal and Liver. Ugh. To make it worse,
one of the guys picked up a piece of veal (at least I think it was
veal) with his tongs and waved it at me, asking, "are you sure you
don't want some?" If I wasn't sure before, I was sure then. I
grabbed some crackers and sifted through some dehydrated food packs
in my room - a much more pleasant alternative.
- Tuesday, 18 February 1997
It's ugly out - windchills of -55°F (-48°C) and I've got
- Wednesday, 19 February 1997
The winds are no better, 30+ knots, but two flights came in last
night and two more tonight; mine is the later one - it arrives
in little over an hour.