We went directly to an orientation at the National Science Foundation (NSF) chalet. The NSF is the governmental agency that funds the scientific research that Americans do in Antarctica. The station manager, Terry Melton, spoke with us about rules and regulations pertaining to the US Antarctic Program under the Antarctic Treaty System, as well as best practices that they have developed to stay safe, reduce waste, and protect the environment. I then received the binder which is to be my bible while I'm here (see below) from Julie Raine, our implementer and employee of the Antarctic Support Contract.
From there I went to pick up my laundry, which is issued in big blue bags to match the big blue building which is home to the short-term residents (that's me!), the galley (cafeteria), general store, craft room, weights room - the list goes on. I made several trips to and from the blue building as I went to retrieve my luggage, overheating in my thick red parka. I was assigned an interior room, the down-side and up-side of which is there is no natural lighting. I always prefer a window, even though it means that you need to wear an eye mask to achieve darkness when it is time to sleep. I have two roommates, both of whom have been waiting for ten days to get out to their field camp, WAIS Divide, located where the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) divides into roughly north-flowing ice streams and south-flowing ice streams.
The Vehicle Maintenance Facility throws a Christmas party every year. They empty out the warehouse and decorate it with lots of backdrops, including cutouts of tin soldiers and reindeer, seating for both Santa and the Grinch, and blow-up penguins and, puzzling enough, a gargoyle too.
|A choir sings carols at the VMF Christmas party|
|Carolyn (head) and Diana (bottom)|
|A little incongruous|
Potato pancakes with spiced applesauce
Shrimp and clams
Spinach artichoke dip
Blue cheese ball
Butternut squash with candied walnuts
White chocolate cheesecake
|Our meal schedule for the next few days, posted on the USAP intranet|