Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kiwi A-Frame, RIP

It's so sad. On Saturday the great old Kiwi A-Frame out on the ice shelf burned to the ground. It's about a twenty-minute Hagglunds ride from Scott Base, out past "Snowmound City", where the field safety training folks conduct "happy camper school". I stayed out there with some friends a couple of times last year. It was a funky little hut-- cozy and old.

The Kiwis were trying to get a heater lit, when evidently some fuel sprayed out and caught the place on fire. Nobody was seriously hurt, but one guy did get his face singed a bit. Unfortunately the remote location and flammable materials meant there was going to be know way to stop it, once it lit.

Here's a link to my blog post last year:

(Picture from the NZ Herald website)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Town Photo

Antz Powell took this photo of all of us in town about two weeks ago. It's hard to tell in the picture, but we're all stacked up on a gigantic pile of snow. I'm in the top row, right hand side, in a black jacket.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cookin' in the dark

Holy cow it's hot in my office! This funky old building is set up to have the heat cranking all the time, with no thermostat. It's almost always fine, because it's usually windy here, which keeps the heat just right. We've had some calm weather the last few days, so there's no wind to strip the heat from the building. It gets outrageously hot in my office whenever the wind slacks off. It was 89F in my office when I got to work this morning. In one particularly hot room, it was 92.7F the other day. (There's a digital thermometer in there to record our "indoor weather".)

On the other hand, the calm weather is great when I'm outside. It's been around -20F for the last few days and feels balmy because the icy wind is gone. It's pretty much pitch dark all the time now, and it's cool to be able to go outside and look at the stars. The brightest time of the day is around 1PM, and it's not bright enough any more to wash out the brighter stars. We've had some very faint auroras-- looking forward to some bright ones.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Goodbye to Pegasus

Went out to the Pegasus runway today to retrieve the last of my communications gear for the winter. Fleet Ops keeps a trailer out there as a warm up shelter. It has wireless internet, a radio telephone, and a VHF radio. The "singlewide" as the trailer is known, is pulled up on a berm of snow for the winter, and most of the gear is removed to keep it from freezing over the winter.

Pegasus is our "blue ice" runway. For some reason snow is continually scrubbed from the area, exposing the hard blue Ross Ice Shelf ice. It's perfect for a runway, because it's not being constantly drifted over like other places on the ice shelf.

I had hoped to get some good pictures, but it was slightly cloudy and pretty dark. We've had a full moon lately, which is awesome. The path of the moon is crazy here-- it goes around the sky in a flat circle, so it is sometimes up for days without setting.

Here's a picture I took around 3:30PM today. There was just a hint of pink light on the horizon. It's really starting to get dark now!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Article About Our Big Storms

Here's a link to an article about the big storms we had a couple of weeks ago:

It has been incredibly nice lately-- temps around zero and calm for almost a week. That's almost unheard of around here... (knock wood).

Monday, May 4, 2009


It seems like it has been getting a lot darker here lately. Today is day 85 on ice, and the sun has been down for about two weeks. There is a bit of dark twilight in the middle of the day, but it never gets as light as in the picture of me above (with the moon).

I haven't been getting real depressed or anything, but I think there is a "circadian rhythm thing" going on. My body doesn't seem to tell the difference between day and night, sometimes resulting in nasty insomnia at night, and being horribly tired by day. I have a "happy light" on my desk, and I stared into it for a while first thing this morning, after a bad night's sleep. Should help to reset my rhythms.

I was really dragging at work, so I grabbed a bite to eat for lunch and went up to the room for a power nap. Zonked right out, and slept for about twenty minutes, with dreams and everything. That's a great feeling, to have 3-D lucid dreams in color, then go back to work.

The weather has been really nice lately, after the hellacious storms of a couple of weeks ago. It's just a little below zero now, and calm. I love it when the wind stops blowing, which doesn't happen too often here.