The ice is melting!

Trip Start Aug 16, 2007
Trip End Apr 07, 2008

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Flag of Antarctica  ,
Friday, December 21, 2007

We have finally reached the 'warmer' days of summer here in Antarctica! (Which sadly is probably the same temperature as the winter most of you are currently experiencing!)
The temperatures have been staying between 30F and 40F for the past few weeks. We still get surprise dusting's of snow every few days but for the most part the beautiful white scenery around town is gone and we are left with nothing but rocky brown mud.

With the warmer weather comes several changes here on the ICE. The pressure ridges from the ocean thawing underneath the ice have become more visible. It is amazing to see such large chunks of ice fold over on top of each other from the weight of the changing tide! We are hoping to get to see more seals and penguins closer to town as the ice begins to melt more.

The Ice Runway has also been moved to Willy Field due to the melting ice. Once it reaches 8 ft. in thickness it is no longer safe for the planes to land on so they move the entire runway to Willy Field; which is located on the permanent ice shelf. The transition has been a bit bumpy seeing as we still have to travel over some of the softer ice in order to get to Willy Field. Last week our galley truck was not able to make it through a portion of the road so we had to switch over to a piston bully instead. This made everything more adventurous to say the least! (The piston bully's can only go a max of 15mph and are VERY bumpy!) Needless to say we are happy to announce that our galley truck has now been fitted with matttracks and should be a more pleasant and efficient ride!

In science news -  The first Long Duration Balloon (LDB) CREAM was launched on Wednesday after waiting several weeks for 'perfect' weather! The Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass (CREAM) project will investigate ultra high energy cosmic rays over the elemental range from protons to iron utilizing a series of Ultra Long Duration Balloon (ULDB) flights. The goal is to observe spectral features and/or abundance changes that might be related to a supernova acceleration limit. To learn more and to track the flight check out their website at

During the past several days of amazing weather we decided to climb Ob Hill for the first time. I know, I know, we have been here since August and haven't climbed it yet?! In our defense we were waiting for the snow to melt so that we wouldn't die...ok it's not that bad, but it is a rather difficult climb to do with bunny boots on (think of space boots). It took us about 45 minutes to get to the top which we (us and several friends) held hands and climbed the last few steps to the summit together! (kinda cheesy, but very momentous) The views were absolutely stunning!  Being up there really makes you feel like you are on top of the world...the bottom of the world, that is!
*The cross at the top of Observation (Ob) Hill was erected in January 1913 to commemorate Captain Scott and his party who lost their lives on the return journey from the South Pole in March 1912.

The holidays are here! Over the past week we have had several holiday parties to get us into the spirit of it all! (It is amazing how easy it is to forget the holidays are near when you are not inundated with marketing and the media!) We had a small galley party at Hut 10 with yummy snacks and were each given a small gift from our Executive Chef's. Aaron received a red ball cap and Michelle received a yellow t-shirt which both had the logo "Cooking at the bottom of the world!" It will be a great memory for our time spent down here in the kitchen. The second party was a station services party at Gallagher's which included the Galley crew, Housing crew and Recreation crew. Again there was lots of yummy food and elaborate Christmas decorations! We even had a gigantic gingerbread house! The community had a gingerbread decorating party one afternoon and filled the service area with about 10 creatively decorated gingerbread houses. Our favorite is the Nativity Scene!

As you can imagine the kitchen has been a chaotic mess the past few weeks while we prepare for Christmas Day dinner on Monday. At least this time we have a better idea of how the day will go since it is set up the same as Thanksgiving. We hope that you all have an enjoyable holiday with family and friends and know that we are thinking of you!

Merry Christmas!!!
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