So far, this trip has been a lot of waiting. Waiting a week in Christchurch while bad weather kept us from getting to the Ice, and now, waiting for planes to get fixed so that our cargo can arrive and we can get to work. We have had four days in Antarctica now, and each day has increased our nervousness about schedule. Our cargo was slated to be here 13 days ago, and with an experiment as big as ours, every day to get it ready to fly counts. Crossing our fingers now that it will arrive very early tomorrow, and we can start to make tangible progress!
We have made some progress over the last couple of days. The Princeton team headed out to LDB (Long Duration Ballooning) for the first time, and got our cryostat into the high bay and uncrated. LDB is kind of out in the middle of nowhere- a 30 minute ride in a van from McMurdo. This is a bit of a painful commute (the roads are very bumpy), but once you’re out there, the scenery is fantastic. We’re near Mt. Erebus, the southernmost active volcano. You can see the smoke coming out of the top of it.
With Theo uncrated, there was little else to do with our tools still in New Zealand. Yesterday, we watched game 7 of the World Series, played games, and then went to America night at Scott Base. It’s the one night a week the Kiwis let us into their bar.
The bars at McMurdo are solid as well. Gallagher’s is a nice big place, with air hockey and fooseball. Southern Exposure is smaller, with a nice pool table, shuffleboard, and fooseball. If you know me, you know where I’m spending a lot of my free time here… Can’t let my pool skills get rusty!
Today, some of us went for a hike up Observation Hill, right next to McMurdo. It was a steep climb up in snow, but the view was well worth it.
Tonight is the Halloween Party, and then tomorrow we finally get to start working!