Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I pick things up and put them down.

The past two days have been really busy, really long, and really fun! Yesterday we did the food pull, which means we have to pack all of our food for the next month into rock boxes. We separated them by breakfast, dinner, and snack, that way we only have to have 3 boxes in the tent at a time. We packed a lot of oatmeal and beans. We also packed A LOT of chocolate. It is one of life's necessities after all! It was strangely comforting to organize all of the boxes - we could really see our progress, and they looked so nice in their little rows. Then came the hard part, we had to carry them - 40 lbs each (it's harder than it sounds) - down the stairs and back to the cage. We emptied everything out of the cage... again... to make a final spreadsheet of all of our cargo and it's total weight.

In total we had 9 food boxes, 2 for breakfast, 3 for snacks, 3 for dinner, and one for spices and drinks.

The most important goods... chocolate!

The nicely organized cage, I think we finally got the hang of fitting everything in there!
This is to help the "Helo Ops" (Helicopter Operations) know what kind of sling to use and how many trips they'll need to take to get all of our stuff out to our site. We're a pretty lightweight group, however, so it should only take two helicopter trips. One with us, and one with the cargo in a sling. Today we had to learn how to make a sling, since in the field we will have to pack up our camp all by ourselves! We also had to move all of the stuff from the cage to the helicopter pad. Yay picking things up and putting them down! Maybe by the time this trip is over I won't be so wimpy anymore. It was fairly impressive however, we fit all of our cargo into the bed of a pickup truck - including the tents! We really will have a bare bones camp. I got to ride on top of the truck from the BFC to the helicopter pad. I had to make sure nothing fell off... including was so much fun! The speed limit in McMurdo is only 15 mph though, so I didn't have to worry too much. Then, after picking things up and putting them down for the last time, we were finally done with our preparations here on station! Natalie drove us back up to Crary. She was very excited to drive the truck, and we made sure to document it. On the other hand, my driving experience has shown me that I am the last person who should ever drive that truck, so I was contented to ride in the bed :). We then cleaned out our office and headed off to our prospective rooms to do one final load of laundry and pack our bags. It's finally happening, and we're finally ready!
Our toilet for the next month.

Nat and Drew working hard closing up the food boxes and getting everything ready to truck to helo ops.

It hasn't all been work though. We've managed to find some time to enjoy McMurdo. From walking out to Scott's Hut, to entering the Spelling Bee (Drew made it to the 7th round!), to taking a lab tour and attending science lectures it's been a really fun time down here in Mactown. But now we're off to the real part of our journey. Fieldwork, and science. I can't wait! The next time you here from us we'll be living in a tent and freezing our booties off. Wish us luck!
Sea Urchin in Phase 3 of Crary, the aquarium.

View from Hut Point

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