CTAM (Central Trans Antarctic Mountains) - A camp on the Beardmore Glacier.

I am off to camp tomorrow……I hope. The last several weeks we’ve been told we would be leaving before the end of the week. I think it is real this time though. I have been keeping busy in town. Trying to find work since I don’t really have a job here. I’ve shipped ice off pipes for plumbers, tested gear for the field camp gear issue, updated Excel spreadsheets and population graphs for other field camps, and put in countless bamboo flags and road markers on the ice roads outside of town. With a light wind loose snow blows over the roads surface and makes it almost impossible to see where the road is. Heavy equipments drivers compact the roads regularly and there is a never ending job of picking up dirt from the surface that falls off in clumps from town vehicles. Small rocks and dirt melt out large potholes in the 24 hour sunlight and ruin the surface of the snow roads. It has been a fun department to work with and has allowed me to get out of town for the past week. Lunch on those days is at the NASA balloon launch site and conversations are great.

We celebrated Thanksgiving on Saturday and we all had two days off which has been great, a chance everyone needed to go out or to rest. The galley fed us in four shifts and the meal was truly wonderful. Fresh fruit from New Zealand and desserts covered every inch of tables that did not already host turkeys carved by volunteers from all over town, gravy pots, various stuffings, crab legs, beans, stuffed peppers, cheese and vegetable platters, rolls and so much more. The tables were spread with white tablecloths and we were allowed to bring drinks in. Wine and Scotch (very popular throughout history in Antarctica) drinkers laughed and shared stories and we all left full and happy. It felt very much like a holiday and games and bands played into the night.

C-130 in action.

Today I will ‘bag drag’, take all my gear up to cargo to be weighed in for my flight on a C-130 to camp in the morning. My list of last minute tasks is growing: laundry, one more hot shower, phone calls, emails, packing, sending gifts home for the holidays, saying good bye to friends in town, and who knows what else. Once I get to camp I will not have internet or phone until early February when we brake the camp down and return to McMurdo. I will have a text only email at one-third the speed of dial up. I will still blog when I can. Until then I wish everyone the best of holidays and fun filled winters.