13 November 2004

Greetings from cosy New Harbor Camp! This is Kathy’s Day today, which like everyone else’s, seems to go non-stop, but unlike everyone else, I collapse by the end of it and the rest of the Kimwipes keep on rolling.

My day began with 6 am hotsy duty. But this morning, I found the hotsy cold, the dive hole frozen over, and the generator not only out of gas but refusing to start, even with Bob’s and Stacy’s expert prodding. Final diagnosis: in need of oil, a new sparkplug, and warming up, just like the rest of us on this cold, windy day.
Back to camp for breakfast…

Then I’m on trash duty, bagging each of the nine categories of garbage, weighing them, stuffing them into the triwall, and tallying their weights so the helo folks will know how heavy a load they will have to carry (essential information!)

Next, down to the dive hole to help Jen, who is pulling up the colonization cores that Stacy and Andrew are capping 60 ft. below

This is my landlubber’s view of our dive hole. Now that’s some thick ice (it's 17 ft. thick)! You can see the impressions that the hotsy’s stinger has left behind.
Team Kimwipes have scored again. Stacy and Andrew, with Jen’s pulling from above, have brought up a record 18 cores in one dive!

This is one of our less thrilling jobs….sieving out the animals. But we can see a story unfolding just by looking in our sieves, or for that matter, sniffing the scents. The cores holding sediment enriched with corn, peas and beans are black and do they STINK! Only the bacteria like these cores. But in the clean stuff is a good variety of little worms and crustys. It looks like what lives outside has moved right in.
It’s 5 o’clock and Stacy wants to go back in the dive hole and do the last job…pull out the fence that surrounded the experiments. They wait, dressed in their suits, inside the jamesway. But bad weather is rolling in. McMurdo is getting a herbie. Will it bypass us?

It stays cold and windy. We give up on the dive plan and decide to move the hotsy to our next dive site, called “Circus”, because Stacy says there is so much junk sitting on the bottom left 30 years ago by her mentors, John Oliver and Paul Dayton. It’s great that they left them, though, because the junk are now time markers. They are overgrown with sponges and soft corals and Stacy is photographing each to see if she can measure their growth from year to year.
Finally, we gas up for tomorrow. We are on our last barrel of mogas and we are rationing. We will be stuck if the helos can’t deliver more tomorrow.

Mike, my son, says I need more wildlife and scenery shots. Above water there is not much to find. We are too far away from open water to see penguins. This Weddell seal was sharing our dive hole at McMurdo a few days ago.
I’m sorry to say that this is the only seal I’ve seen around our New Harbor camp. Poor thing must have lost its way.

The sky over the Asgard Range to the North is dramatic. I admire it as we finish the day.
But I am exhausted and soon turn to my little tent on the sea ice. I hear laughter in the distance. Team Kimwipes minus one are just getting warmed up for the evening. I snuggle into my thick sleeping bag, my drink bottle at my toes full of hot water, and sink into deep sleep.

Lets see the next day!