Several things have happened since I last had a chance to update the blog. Tanya (my dughter and webmaster) has created a little quiz based on some questions that have come in. See if you can answer them the first time through. (It will allow you to guess until you get it right. Please sign in so we know who hasn’t tried yet.)

There are two ice piers. The old one is further out along the point beyond the new one. They are both built by piling up snow around the outside edge and pouring water in the middle to create a lake on top of the ice. The water freezes. They then add rebar and cables to hold the structure together under stress and add more water. They continue this process until they get it to the thickness they deem sound and spread dirt over the top to lock in the ice. This is then shaped to have a vertical edge. The ships can then tie up to them and off/on load.

The old pier got cracks in it last year and broke in half after the last ship had come in. They left it along side the point because they don’t know how to get rid of it environmentaly safely. It has so much metal in it they don’t want to just dump it in the ocean, but it is too big to get it up on shore. The wind broke it loose this year while the oil tanker was trying to leave. The good news is that the tanker did not get damaged. The bad news is that the tanker was stuck at the pier until they could figure out what to do with it. It took them three days to get it pushed back up against the point and secured. The oiler got out and the cargo ship made it in. Yea! That means we are getting the uspplies for next year. Everything excpt fresh food. (If you want to call it that.) There are, of course all those things they forgot or didn’t plan for that has to come in by plane next year, but that never gets mentioned. We are finishing that up now.

Since the pole trip I have been to Crater Hill a couple of times and working on a new install for a weather camera out at Willy Field. The engineering has not proven to have matched the field operations, so we’ve been trying to work the bugs out. We have just about everything figured out except the part about the cases being too big and heavy. They have now delayed further deployment until next year to work that issue out.

I am going to AWS 108 (Biesiada Crevasse) to troubleshoot why the battery only lasts a couple of hours during the portion of the day that the sun is on the back side of the solar panel. I suspect the battery needs to be replaced or the solar panel is partially obscured by snow buildup.

On Thursday, I am going to Marble Point to retrieve the visibility sensor and ceilometer. They cannot stay out over the winter. Friday is the trip down to the South Pole, but I get to miss that one because I have been there three times already.

Only two weeks left to finish up all the projects before we all leave for the winter. We can’t bring in all the runway stuff until the C130’s leave on the 16th. That last week is a big push to get the shelters brought in and winterized. It is amazing that a hole as small as that from pulling a nail will cause the entire shelter to be packed with snow and ice by the time they come back for Winfly to break it all back out and start again. I had suggested they build a fixed runway that can be heated and facilities that are permanent. That is what they started at Marble Point, but then they signed the treaty instead and now they can’t build a permanent structure like a runway, so we’re stuck doing it on the ice.

Here is another collection of pictures includeing the long awaited pictures of real, live penguins and me in the same picture. By the time you get to enjoy the pictures I will no longer have the beard and long hair. My appointment is at 4:30 to get the dreaded haircut. It has been sort of nice not to have to worry about remembering to shave every day. Of course, I have gotten a lot of flak about not trimming it, but if I ‘m going to be too lazy to shave it off I’m not going to waste time trying to trim it. I’ve heard a lot of support for keeping it, but the one dissenting vote is the only vote that counts, so gone it is.