What About Bob?

23 October 2004

Hi All, itís Jennifer here. Today, we were suppose to fly to the other side of McMurdo Sound to a place called Cape Chocolate to look for a dive site, but the helicopter flight was postponed so that they could catch up on flights that were previously cancelled due to bad weather. However, in preparation for the helo flight, I had requested sack lunches for the day. Even though we never flew, we still got the keep the lunches, which were welcomed with open arms. Additionally, I took away a cooks hat that offered us a lot of laughs throughout the day.

Andrew, Bob, Mike, our dive tender Steve, and myself went out to Cinder Cones to clean up the remainder of the experiment debris that was on the seafloor. Stacy, Elizabeth, and Kathy remained in the lab to review proposals (Stacy), prepare for the Sunday lecture (Elizabeth), and to get a jump-start on sorting the samples we recently collected (Kathy).

We had a beautiful day out at Cinder Cones, with Mount Erebus smoking in the background.
On the way to the dive hut, we cross quite a few cracks in the sea ice and because we are not on one of the established ice roadways that the safety crew monitors on a weekly basis, we are responsible for making sure the cracks are not working or actively moving. And because we had noticed that the seals had found a way out onto the ice, we figured it might be time to reassess the depth of the ice before we drove over it. So, we drilled two of the largest cracks and found to our relief that the ice was plenty thick and then we continued to the hut.

We had a successful dive, cleaning up the random weights and stakes that were used to secure the fence enclosure, and retrieving some large blue rings that had housed enrichment experiments over the past three years. During our dive, we were greeted by three seals that were making strange noises as their way of communicating with each other and maybe with us. We returned to the dive hut to warm cocoa prepared by chef Andrew and to the moon rising behind our hut.

So, now, what about Bob?
Bob is a seasoned McMurdo veteran who has previously worked as a communications technician down here. So, with communications always on his mind, we never leave the station without at least three radios. He is filled with knowledge about what lies behind the walls at McMurdo, how things were built, how much paint it takes to cover a C-17, the history of the station and the Antarctic explorers who were here long before our time. He is our token technical geek. If there is anything you might dream of wanting (e.g. a waterproof neoprene mat to warm your toes on before your dive or a thermal recovery unit, AKA hot tub) Bob is the man for the job. And above all, he is fun with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. He definitely kept us laughing today until we were buckled over asking for relief.

Mountain Dew commercial?

By the time we got back to the dive hut we were exhausted from laughing (and from our bowling tournament the night before), and decided to take a short break before rinsing our dive gear.

Lets see the next day!