Geoff Sims @ UNSW
Home South Pole Diaries 2012/13 25th December, 2012


Tuesday, 25th December, 2012

Funny way to spend Christmas (John)

Most of the station's 850-odd inhabitants are taking the day off, so it's very quiet. We've taken over the Crary Lab library again, and spent the day putting together an 11-page work sheet for our Ridge A deployment. It's important to plan carefully and to write everything down before we go, as when we get there it will be very cold, our brains won't work properly because of the altitude (4,000 m), and we'll have just a few days to get everything done. A few minutes spent planning here could save hours of hard work and frustration at Ridge A. Not only that, but with a script to follow it's less likely our little camp at Ridge A will turn into a re-enactment of "Lord of the Flies".

The view from the library window. This is Mount Discovery, some 60 km away. The air is very clear here.

However, it's difficult to make a full-day's brainstorming on technical things sound interesting, and none of us is terribly photogenic, so instead of boring everyone witless with some dreary engineering talk, here are some photos of McMurdo on a very quiet Christmas day. By the way, it hit +1C today with some occasional sunshine, so it was quite pleasant outside.

From a psychological point of view, McMurdo is an excellent transition for us as we head south, as it is weirder than Sydney but not as weird as South Pole.

For example, here is a bridge across some of the station pipe work.

Like all good bridges, it has an evil troll lurking underneath.

These wheels are a must-have accessory for our Prius.

As a final example, rubbish at McMurdo is sorted into numerous categories. 100% of solid waste is returned to the US, and some 70% of that is recycled. It's a system that works very well, and one the USAP are justly proud of. However Craig tells me that sometimes additional recycling bins appear with new categories such as "Dreams" and "Zombie Parts".

As I said, weird. But seriously good fun!


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