Polar Plunge!

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

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

We did the Polar Plunge!
We got to leave work for a few hours and head over to Scott Base where they had set up the official Polar Plunge site. It was a big hole the size of a kiddie swimming pool with a platform to jump off of. We were harnessed, in case of emergency, with 2 paramedics near by and another right at the top of the platform...needless to say we felt very safe, but a bit on the crazy side! The plunge went very fast compared to all of the anticipation. As you can see from the videos we were in and out of the 28F salty water as fast as possible! After the plunge we headed straight for the hot tub to warm up a bit and then stayed a few minutes in the warming huts before changing and heading back to work. What an AWESOME (and crazy) experience!
While we were at Scott Base waiting to take our plunge we got to see some of the seals that have come ashore from the ice beaker coming through...up close! There were about 15 feet from the edge of the ice. It was so awesome to see them that close after watching them from afar for a few weeks. They are really big...and lazy!
Now for a few updates from the past two weeks...
The Oden finally came in to the pier and we were able to get our own photos right up close! The evening it came in there was a huge group of penguins that arrived to check out what was going on. The Adeli's were so curious and very cute! Since the ice breaker has been cutting through the ice path back and forth for the past week and a half we have seen a lot more wild life. There have been several sightings of whales out in the open water right in front of the pier at Hut Point. We have not seen any ourselves yet, but there were a few great pictures on the I-drive (our shared drive) that I had to include one!
Another big event that recently occurred was the US vs. Kiwi Rugby game. The game has been a tradition for the past 50 years! There are practices all season in preparation for the big game...and the Kiwi's conveniently fly in some of their best player's right before the game! Unfortunately the US has yet to win, but this year we at least held our own by keeping the score 2-0! Way to go guys!!! We thankfully did not have any major injuries from either team's this year...and as you can imagine there was a lot of celebrating, by both teams, after the game!
The season is starting to wind down and we are all preparing for the last few vessels and then our own departures. In the midst of all of the working and packing we still try to get out and enjoy ourselves a bit. Aaron has enjoyed playing Frisbee Golf with a few friends any time the weather is nice...which seems to come and go without warning! It is amazing how many snow storms we still get in the middle of the summer! We are hoping to get in a few more hikes before we head out, but if not, there is always next year! We are starting to see the sun set a little more each day. The first real sun set of the year will be on February 20th. In the mean time we are looking forward to catching the Solar eclipse on February 7th!
After some planning we were finally able to organize a time to get all of the galley crew together for a group photo! As you can see we are quite a big family! We have still been very busy at work. Aaron has just been promoted to run the Willy Field runway galley for the rest of the season! The runway cook, Debbie, just received a winter contract at the South Pole and left on Tuesday. The chaos in the galley has also been heightened by our recent increase in population. The 70 NavChaps (Navy cargo workers) just arrived the other day to assist with our resupply vessel offload. (This puts our population at 1,100!) Unfortunately the vessel's arrival has been pushed back a week due to the fuel tanker getting stuck in some ice and arriving a week late. We should be expecting the resupply vessel on February 5th and it will be here for about 7-10 days. In the mean time, the Nathaniel B Palmer research vessel stopped in for a few days. The Palmer does marine scientific research for the National Science Foundation and is associated with our station.
The next 2 weeks will fly by in a chaotic haze with the unloading of the resupply vessel and then immediate daily departures of flights. As of now we are still scheduled to leave on February 19th. We will try to get out a few more posts before our departure, but know that once we get to New Zealand our communication will be limited while we travel. We plan to update the blog once we are back in the states so we can enjoy every moment our travels without needing to stop and find internet kiosks along the way.
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