Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Gorgeous Day

It Was a Gorgeous Day!

This view from McMurdo Station shows the Royal Society Mountains. The Ross Ice Shelf, in the foreground, looks blue because the white ice reflects the sky. Thin wispy clouds can be seen arriving from the southwest.

This view of Mt. Discovery shows the volcano without its usual plume of smoke. Clouds from the southwest bisect the mountain. The Ross Ice Shelf is in the foreground. Both these pictures show mountains that are about 10 miles away. The clarity of the air is indescribable. They look so close that one is tempted to think that they are but a short walk to reach them.

The horizontal white line across the ice shelf is an ice road leading out to Pegasus, the ice airfield on which the C-17 jets land.

That was yesterday, a Gorgeous Day. Today I had duty as a Dining Assistant. That is a euphemism for dish washer. One of the benefits of being a DA is that I got to see the inside of the kitchen that prepares meals for over 1000 people, three times a day, plus midnight rations for night shift workers. The most impressive part is the scale on which everything is done. They have no use for the size pots and pans any of us have at home. Their baking trays are the size of a pool table. Mixing bowls sit in a floor mounted mixer large enough to fit a 5th grader! The roasting pans are the size of foot lockers. Bakery ovens stack one on top of another, many high, and side-by-side. Salad is prepared in a bowl just smaller than a hot tub.

Last night was Bridge Night. I organized an evening of Bridge playing in the galley. Only two people showed up and neither of them play Bridge, they just wanted to learn. I'm guessing that with Mainbody and the arrival of about 800 more people on station, including the scientists, there may be more success in recruiting a game.

Our work schedule is 9 hrs. a day, six days a week. We get Sundays off work. However, this weekend is a 2 day weekend, meaning we get off both Saturday and Sunday. This is the last such 2 day weekend until Thanksgiving so everyone is excited to make the most of it. I don't have any specific plans yet, but will probably find something to do with friends. I know one thing I won't be doing: playing Bridge!

Tonight I will go to Scott Base, the New Zealand base on Antarctica. It is about 4 km. from McMurdo. Our Kiwi hosts are very entertaining. They have a smaller base with about 125 people. Their mission is the same as ours: to support science.

I'll keep the pictures and stories coming. Thanks to everyone who has left comments. They really help me feel connected to everyone back home. Until my next post.......


Medic61 said...

How neat, Dad! Can't wait to see more pictures :) Thanks for commenting on my blog, too! I love hearing what you think.

Anonymous said...

Don, you do realize you were competing with the slightly less challenging Bingo night...

Matt said...

Wow Don, I thought after that last Bridge night at our house you had given up the game ;-). Glad to see you are back at it, or at least trying. It is really great to see and hear all that you are experiencing down there. It is almost like being there, but without the cold. The Tarazona 0 Humidity humidor will be along shortly. Ha! Take care

Anonymous said...

Don't get in too much trouble on your "long weekend" The photos and blog are great!

Ron Hill said...

Don, I would think that almost everything is north from where you are. Jackie and I are enjoying your blog. Keep up the good work.

bing cheri said...

Hey Dr. S.,
Have really enjoyed reading your blog & seeing the photos.Sounds like things are going well.Dave says it's a whole different game when playing with new players. I wouldn't know.Have never played myself. Good luck with that!
Stay safe & warm!

Bubba's Sis said...

That is fascinating that the ice looks blue! I really thought that was water!

Good luck on getting some bridge players. I don't know how to play or I'd come down and join you. Just don't make me wash dishes. ;-)

ZShuGirl said...

Hey big brother, have you considered your "Ice Diving" certification?? Pretty good place to get that, huh??

Stay warm and take care. Rick and I love to read your blogs and are really loving the pictures.

Ms. Shuwarger's Class said...

Dear Dr. Shuwarger,

Thank you for posting us letters on your blog. I looked up nacreous clouds online. Here's what I found:
Nacreous clouds are clouds of unknown composition, form resembles of cirrus, they are at heights of 12 and 18 miles of length. they are also known as Mother of Pearl clouds and Polar stratosperic clouds. They are only seen at late and early times.

The class says hi. They want you to post something about penquins.
Well, have fun! We miss you!

This is the ONLY student in my class to take on your challenge! She earned candy AND the priviledge of writing to you. Great job N!
-Ms. S

D... said...

Those pictures are so stunning. I'm glad you pointed out that it was the ice shelf. I thought it was water.

Once we were in Chicago at the Field Museum. We could see the Navy Pier clearly and thought it would be a short walk to it. We walked and walked and walked. We felt like we were never getting closer to it. Reading this post about the mountains reminded me of that memory. The clarity can certainly deceive you.