More flying. This time on a cargo plane – operated by New Zealand (some flights are flown by the US, some by New Zealand). We sat on net seats in this cargo plane, wearing our full ECW gear.
There was no conversation, since the roar of the engines was deafening and we all wore earplugs. So most people just read, slept and ate our bag lunches. We were advised to save some food in case of a boomerang – getting all the way to McMurdo and getting waved off and flying all the way back to Christchurch. We were lucky and the weather was beautiful and we landed on a beautiful sunny afternoon at McMurdo after about 7 hours of flying. The IRIS PASSCAL crew that is already here collected me off the transport and showed me the ropes – getting dinner, collecting my bags, finding my dorm room, etc.
There is lots of training! We’re taking courses on almost every aspect of living and working in Antarctica - light vehicle training, fire safety, waste and recycling, medical, field safety... We also had strong winds and snow all day. The conditions went from Condition 3 (Con 3) – which is a sort of standard day – no restrictions on being out and about working, to Con 2, in which restrictions start to apply to any operations / field work off the station.
Part of the Field Safety training class was learning to use the stoves (to melt snow for drinking water) that are packed in the survival kits that go along as part of any substantial trip outside of McMurdo Station.
After the field safety training let out I shot this photo from the classroom window of my classmates walking back across the station.
Today we had more training in the morning, then digging in the afternoon. Seismology always seems to involve lots of digging. In this case six seismometers had been installed at a test site location about 3 or 4 miles from McMurdo. We checked out a tracked vehicle (a Pisten Bully – the snow cat vehicle you often see at ski resorts) and drove out to the test site. With the snow yesterday these sensors were all nicely buried under two or three feet of snow. We had to do lots of delicate digging to ensure the instruments and cables were not damaged by the shovels.
The hut houses batteries and data loggers. The sensors are outside, behind the hut. The big rock formation in the distance is Castle Rock, which I am hoping to climb on a day off (there is a route up the back).
Sensor removed. Then dug up the brown tile with the blue foam backing that the sensor sits on. Then time for a photo. Okay, I might be kneeling in this hole just to exaggerate things a bit . . .