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12 October, 2003

Sundays at McMurdo are quiet. Most support staff have a welcome day off, and many of the scientists also take advantage of the lull in operations if they can. After our very happy camping experience of the previous 2 days, I chose to catch up on journals for part of the day and then went on a walk around the general McMurdo area with some of the members of my team. The afternoon cleared off nicely—the views across the ice to the Transantarctic Mountains were some of the best I’ve had since we arrived on Tuesday.

Our seal group met for a short orientation session on using our handheld computers. These computers will enable us to store data in the field as we tag and census the seals. Each evening we will be able to download the information into a central computer to update our records. In addition to the handheld computers we will keep a written record for each seal that we tag or for the seals we see when we are doing our census work in the colonies in November. The computers have a touch screen that is activated by using a plastic stylus. They were a little tricky to work in the warm confines of the Crary Lab. We all looked like we were playing some sort of science-based gameboy. It will be interesting to see how well we operate them in sub zero temperatures with the wind blowing while wearing 2 pairs of gloves. It will be a true test of our manual dexterity!

Sunday evenings there are science lectures in the galley. This week’s lecture was given by Dr.Terry Deschler, whose research group has been studying the ozone hole over Antarctica. I was parcticularly interested in attending the lecture since Michael Lampert, another TEA has been working with the project. To learn more about the ozone hole research project you can go to Michael’s page on the TEA website and check out his journals.

Daily Haiku:

McMurdo Sundays

Time to relax or explore

Science research shared

Seal research team member Darren Ireland near McMurdo

Mark Johnston learns to use a handheld data computer

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