“Winfly is the best time of year to come down here” – Lori Gravelle AFD Dispatch Supervisor
I whole heartedly agree with my supervisor. Now that I am able to actually get out and stretch my legs by seeing the sites that McMurdo has to offer.
Today was by far the best day I’ve had while on the ice. It was clear, cold and beautiful at sunrise and sunset. I also got a chance to do some call taking, which made me feel more useful than I have all week. While I’ve enjoyed being a trainee, it’s about time that I’ve been able to be useful at work. Every time the phone has rung (or is it rang?) I have tried to jump to answer it. We went over a lot today, including plane emergency calls. Now, I’ve been a part of several disaster drills at work and actual events involving plane problems, but down here it is a possibility (actually more like a probability) that there will be plane emergencies. Last season there were apparently several calls…weekly.
I was also given the task of transferring Chief Guzman (the head honcho of the fire department) to different phone lines. He called several times as a test to see if we were 1) answering the phones correctly and 2) knew how to transfer calls. I am proud to say that I passed this impromptu test with flying colors.
At the end of the work day, Captain Fleuette took several of us out for area familiarization in the FD van – Scat1. The tour about town went fairly quickly overall and afterwards, we were able to go out and do our own thing. After work, Renae and I came back to our dorm and changed for our after work activities. She decided to head to the “gerbil gym” (affectionately nicknamed due to the treadmills, elipticals, etc) and I headed out to take some pictures of somewhere other than the back of building 155.
I headed to the Chapel of the Snows (thanks in part to suggestions from Lori and Pam). Inside of the chapel, there are bay windows overlooking the Royal Society Mountain Range. The shots in the Gallery from my last post are from both inside and outside of the chapel. The chapel is open 24 hours a day and is mostly used for yoga… During the summer, we’ll have a few priests and chaplains who will hold services there on Sundays and Midnight Mass. I grew up Catholic, so I WILL be attending midnight mass in Antarctica.
After hanging out around the chapel, I walked over behind building 209 (dorm rooms) where the McMurdo Station Antarctica sign is located. I didn’t have a chance to switch out camera lenses to attempt to get a good picture of the sign, but I did have a better view of Shackleton’s Hut as well as Roll Cage Mary. Take the time to read about both of them on Wikipedia. Sunday, Pam and I plan on hiking down to the hut to check out the outside. We aren’t allowed in the hut unless we’re on a guided tour. They don’t want people destroying historic artifacts. I don’t blame them.
Tonight is the first clear night since we’ve been here. There is a crescent moon and I’ve actually seen two stars. I’m hoping that I get to see a few more before daylight consumes all 24 hours of the day in October. It’s about 7pm local time and I don’t plan on staying up too late, despite the invitations to Gallagher’s with a bunch of the department personnel. I find myself going to bed early down here and I generally wake up around 5am.
Hope everyone in the northern hemisphere is doing well. I’m happily content here at Hoth. Oh – please email me your addresses at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a postcard. I should be sending some out early next week. If you need or want my mailing address, it’s in my second post. I think.
Best wishes to you all –