Tomorrow will make ONE week. For me, it feels longer, and sometimes it’s like I never left. I spent the morning assisting with the training of new drivers. Somehow I always get to do the DISPATCH training. (The least liked job of all – because you have to be totally in control of all the vehicles and drivers. PLUS handle the phones and keep the flight board current.) Last year we hauled OVER 54,300 people. That figure does not include passengers to and from the planes.
The afternoon was spent in “Snow School and Sea Ice Survival” Refresher Class. The sea ice must be (or we always HOPE it is) 30 inches thick to be considered safe. I won’t get to drill the ice cracks this year, but we went over all the steps so that I could do it if needed.
**Informative tidbit: The “Erebus tongue” slides into the sea – 12 inches a day!
We also learned of the ocean currents that swirl around Turtle Island – making that a hazardous place to try to head to for safety. There are always large cracks that open up – then filled with the next snow that blows through. If you aren’t aware of the slight differences in the ‘look’ of the sea ice – you can step into one and possibly fall through to the sea. We were also warned to not blindly follow the tracks in front of us. Sometimes the sea ice “opens’ or ‘splits’ in such a way that it appears someone ahead of you drove through safely. (Safety first! – that’s our motto!)
Last night’s science lecture was: Over-Sea-Ice Seismic Surverys: Airguns, Snowstreamers, Thunder Sleds and Other Large Toys. Dr. Marvin Speece was the speaker. (He’s from Montana Tech) Andrill is also involved so Lincoln Nebraska was mentioned, too! The surveys they do reveal the paleoclimatic and glacial history of the Antarctic region. He talked about all the special problems that arise while working in these conditions.
In his presentation he had numerous slides of- what I would describe as- fuzz and lines and fuzzy lines. He would then explain what it ‘showed’. They fire the air gun down the predrilled hole and shoot a “bubble”, followed by a second bubble that will counteract something the first one does! (Sorry, but this was science completely “over my head”!!! I include the info – as Team C might know it!) At one point he brought up a HUGE chart. The entire crowd tilted sideways trying to figure it out. Then Dr. Speece, with arms crossed and one hand on his chin said, “It delights me – but I’m not going to talk about it.” Hahaha…we all laughed from relief!
I think I will sit in my room tonight!