Moai on Easter Island

Moai on Easter Island

Thursday, February 14, 2013


I wish I could say I came back from New Zealand to a calm new start to my winter in Antarctica.  It has been quite the opposite.  McMurdo’s population is up to almost 1,000 again because there are a bunch of people who have come down for the shipping vessel offload and everyone from the South Pole is here waiting for flights back to New Zealand.

Scott's Discovery Hut with the fuel Tanker and McMurdo in the background.
It is almost 5am and I am still awake.  This is a very good thing.  My new job in the supply department has a huge part in the vessel offload and I am on the 12-hour night shift for the proposed 8 day offload.  But, like everything else within the US Antarctic Program things are delayed.  The ship is arriving a day late, because the fuel tanker took longer than expected to unload the fuel.  And I’m going to say that the expected 8 day offload time will longer as well. Since my shift will be 6pm to 6am I am happy to still be awake right now. 

Only another week until our first sunset in months.

Summer is certainly over here in McMurdo.  The colder temperatures and windier days remind me of that every time I walk outside.  Actually, my dorm room window leaks so bad I don’t even have to walk outside to know how cold and windy it is!

The tanker docked at the ice pier and the Russian icebreaker meandering in the open ocean.

There is also another new sight: ships.  The Russian contracted ice breaker arrived at the sea ice edge almost 2 weeks ago and broke up a channel to allow the fuel tanker and one of the USAP research vessels into the McMurdo port.  The tanker just finished up unfueling today and is scheduled to leave at 8am tomorrow--just in time for the shipping vessel containing more than 670 shipping containers to arrive.  This ship is sitting out in the water about 15 miles from McMurdo waiting for the tanker to leave. 

The Russian icebreaker passes in front of the Royal Society Range.

The research vessel left a few days ago.  The ice breaker is still here despite most of the ice breaking up and blowing out to sea last night.  I looked out the window last night and noticed that much of the ice was beginning to break up just outside of town and then woke up to only open water.  In a matter of hours over 100 square miles of sea ice disappeared.  It is bizarre to see open water where I’ve spent a large part of the spring and summer working on the ice.
Yesterday this was ALL covered in ice!!!

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