Geoff Sims @ UNSW
Home South Pole Diaries 2012/13 31st December, 2012


Monday, 31st December, 2012

Icestock. (John)

Not a whale of a lot to do today, so mostly we talked about how great PLATO would be if, in some parallel universe, we'd built it somewhat differently. In such a universe, our servicing tools would include some white cotton gloves, furniture polish and perhaps some leather conditioner, rather than 150 kg of replacement batteries, a wire crimper the size of a baseball bat, and a chain saw.

Over brunch, Daniel expounded on his understanding of the human digestive system. Apparently it includes a "dessert valve" that opens when, after a main course has fully satiated a diner, an irresistible dessert arrives. This creates an additional 10% or more of stomach capacity. Daniel was then able to demonstrate the operation of such a valve, by demolishing at a single sitting a good fraction of the desserts appearing in Geoff's earlier food blog.

However, an otherwise unremarkable day was followed by a most splendid evening at the legendary "Icestock" music festival. This is an annual tradition at McMurdo, and is almost certainly the best rock festival on the continent.

The line-up of acts, some a bit classier than others.

To put a concert on in Antarctica, you first need...

...a stage...

...some instruments...

...some wild and crazy amateur musicians... audience, preferably also wild and crazy,...

...and away you go. Let's rock!

Naturally, the neighbours are also invited.

The UNSW team behaved with impeccable dignity and decorum...

...although their fine example was not always followed by others.

The NZ Antarctic program were using this opportunity to experiment with alternative ECW (Extreme Cold Weather) gear,... was the USAP. This variant of the standard-issue balaclava is a good bit furrier and provides some handy hooks to hang your gloves on when doing fiddly work outside.

This ECW version allows you to approach a penguin rookery without disturbing the birds. That's "Shuttle Schaefer", by the way.

This experimental ECW gear is designed to reduce heat stress in warm conditions.

The US Air National Guard are also trying out new uniforms for their crew. This is Kat, LC130 loadmaster, who featured in a an earlier blog.

The McMurdo support teams proudly displayed their job descriptions...

...which of course include this important OH&S recommendation.

And no rock concert would be complete without a few bikies.

So, this is how we saw in the new year, with the heavy metal Pink Torpedoes taking us through the midnight hour.

We wish you all a very happy, prosperous and rewarding new year!

Happy New Year from McMurdo!


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