The beginning of the week of November 21st brought an intense storm to McMurdo. Nearly all flying was cancelled due to low visibility and blowing snow, thus we weren’t able to do much work. Storms similar to these can create a backlog of flights on the schedule . Luckily, we were still able to get out to a few places later in the week. This week was special because we would be celebrating Thanksgiving on Saturday, and we would get our first 2-day weekend in a few weeks!
On Wednesday, November 23rd we took a truck out to our site near the Williams Field skiway. We call the AWS Willie Field although it’s really off the Pegasus runway road…details. We had been cancelled on the Otter and we weren’t scheduled for the helicopter, so it was it was a good afternoon to drive out there. We needed to go to Willie Field AWS to try and recover the batteries and check if the instrumentation needed to be raised. The tower was plenty tall, so we didn’t need to add a tower section or raise the instrumentation. We dug down to try and recover the batteries, but we started to hit too many ice layers at about 4 feet that we decided we couldn’t recover them. We’ll be bringing a new 3-battery power system once we have a battery box available from another site.
Once we got back from the airfield, we got a call from helo ops that we could try and take a night flight out to Lorne AWS. Lee and Dave took the chance on a flight and left at about 8pm. Lorne AWS needed a new solar panel with better wiring and a new pressure sensor. Both were installed successfully and they got back to McMurdo at about 10:45pm.
Then it was Saturday, and it was time to celebrate Thanksgiving! I ran the Turkey Trot in the morning. It was a race around McMurdo on the volcanic rock (no ice). The race was filled with all kind of runners wearing all kind of clothing. It was actually my first Turkey Trot I’ve ever raced!
Then that evening the 3 of us got Thanksgiving dinner at 7pm. The kitchen serves dinner at 3, 5, and 7pm in order to makes sure all 900 people can get dinner on Thanksgiving. Those working the meals work 12+ hours days in order to prepare/serve all the delicious food. During the meal we applaud and thank the chefs for a wonderful meal!
We’re still on schedule with our work, and we’ve only got a few sites left!
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!