23 November 2004

After two weeks of fun in the sun, swimming in the moat, snowmobiling to work, and endless diving it is time for us to depart our little Eden on the west side of the sound for the hustle and bustle of modern McMurdo life. Since we leave tomorrow, today is a day of packing. The morning started with packing up all of the food we failed to eat. Then we packed our dive gear which is probably the only thing that is looking forward to a bath more than us.

And we had to fix all of the last things that we have broken. My job is to fix the sigland sled which was cracked during the helo flight out here. Using what resources I have (really expensive stainless steel bolts) and two trips through the moat (dead drill battery) I create “Franken Siggy” from the damaged sled. Sometimes we have to use what we have, like a pair of ear protectors as a lift for the sled.

Over night the moat has frozen so our six wheeler earns its new title RVIB (Research Vessel Ice Breaker) allowing us to access the solid sea ice.

Jenn does a few last plankton tows in a light mist of snow which has descended upon us. Unfortunately there is a thick layer of low salinity (less salt) water at the top of the hole which damages the plankton before she can get them in a bottle and makes her job more complicated.

The packing and work continues throughout the day from topping off fuel to doing the dishes. Finally we relax with a game of scrabble. The term contentious does not begin to describe the arguments that we enjoyed. The main problem was that Stacy and Bob kept on getting lucky by which words were considered valid by the online dictionary. Amazingly, laved, er, um and, eh are all words according to the scrabble website. After close to two, hours Stacy and Bob were victorious, Jenn a very close second. And I beat Mike, the boastful scrabble king (and I quote “or just the king would be fine”) who failed to even beat me, the man who can barely spell spell (and cannot spell all of the days of the week.) His defeat was the joy of the day for the rest of us.

Mike said the reason he lost was his incredible ability to draw vowels.


Lets see the next day!