We work six days a week most weeks, 9 hour days. It helps to keep people out of trouble. The downside with only one-day a week off, is the big question of weather. If our Sunday is bad weather it really puts a damper on the outside activities. December 12th wasn't too bad of a day, a little overcast, but the temperature was about 30° F, and there wasn't much wind. The forecast called for it to get cloudy and snow by the afternoon, so I decided to head out in the morning before Brunch.
Last year I had never been up to 'Roll Cage Mary' as she is know locally. On a ridge above the discovery hut (about a 1/2 mile from town), there is a memorial to the first Seabee that died in the Antarctic program.
The hike to the ridge took me past the Ice Pier. They build a pier out of ice for the ships to dock at. Last year the old pier was towed out to sea to melt, and the winter over crew built a new one. The finishing details are still in progress. The Coast Guard Ice Breaker will be arriving a little after the first of the year.
The monument is dedicated to Richard Williams who died while driving supplies in from a ship during the first year of the construction of McMurdo Station.
The Monument has a good view of the town, and is visible from a large portion of town.
Just down the hill from Monument, is another memorial to a sailor killed in 1982 during the ship offload.
There have been approximately 50 people killed or who have died while working in the United States Antarctic Program. 40 of them died between 1946, and 1974. 29 of those were killed in Aircraft crashes. The Navy lost 30 Airplanes, and 20 Helicopters during that time.
While taking pictures of the second memorial, I gained a couple of new friends.
The Antarctic Skua is sort of an overgrown Seagull. They are known to be very intense scavengers. When we start to see them, they are usually hanging out around the galley looking anything to eat. They must have thought I was going to share some food.
A quick trip out to the point, and Vince's Cross.
TO THE MEMORY OF
GEORGE T. VINCE
WHO WAS DROWNED NEAR THIS SPOT
MARCH 11th 1902
The center building of the three green ones in the background, is where my shop is located.
The Discovery Expedition (also named after the ship), built what we know now as the Discovery Hut. It was used by several expeditions during the heroic era (1890-1920). That is Vince's Cross in the background to the right of the hut.
It was almost noon, and time to head back for Brunch. For those that are interested, I took a photo of an Antarctic Fire Hydrant. The pipes running down the hill are the water and sewer lines for the buildings. All of them are covered with heat tape and then covered with 4 to 6" of insulation, then the metal sheeting around that. The large blue handle is the valve to turn on the water to the exposed part of the hydrant. The small red valve on the left is a drain.
A reminder that Christmas is only about two weeks away, as I get back to the main street between the galley, and the dorms. All the decorations are up.
Well it was off to Brunch, then a leisurely afternoon in my room, working on my web pages, and watching Titanic.
After Dinner, I head over to the Sunday night science lecture. Each week one of the science groups puts on a presentation on their project for the community. Tonight Randy Davis and his group present what they've found on their research of Weddell seals. I had made a quick trip to help put in a phone at their camp on the sea ice shortly after I arrived. They find an area of unbroken ice, and drill a hole. They then set up their research camp, kidnap a seal from elsewhere on the ice and bring them back to their hole. Since the seal has to surface to breath, the seal is trapped in the area of the camp. After a couple of days, they attach sensors, and a camera to the seal, and then monitor it over the next few days.
The seals went on dives (holding their breath), that ranged from 10 to 90 minutes. The camera actually gets some images of the seal capturing fish, which was really neat.
After the lecture, it was back to the room, and off to bed, another work day starts at 7:30 Monday Morning.