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7 January, 2003

A Day in the Life!

Our day started with a cup of coffee and a short meeting of the algae portion of the Stream Team to make a plan for our work today. As we were talking, the whirling blades of a helicopter came in for a landing delivering Pete back to us from McMurdo. Then Aaron and Jake arrived delivering the ATV from their camp, so we could use it to carry our gear today. They are on the glacial lake coring team and are camped a mile or so away from us. We offered them coffee and soon after, Mary Ann, another TEA, and Sarah also arrived from the lake team. They are staying in tents in a much more primitive set-up than F6, so they enjoy being able to sit in chairs and make food on a stove. Plus, they can check e-mail and phone home here!

We visited as we packed our gear and did the morning chores of bringing water to the hut, emptying the gray water, washing dishes and sweeping. Then Jen, Erin and I left to hike to the lake where we packed our gear on to the ATV and then drove the thirty minutes to the other end of Lake Fryxell. We hiked up the steep incline to the top of Canada Stream where we surveyed the algae transect. I set up Theo, the survey instrument, in six and a half minutes, a new record! It takes the three of us about four hours to complete all of the samples and surveying at a transect.

We packed up our gear and moved to the delta of Canada Stream and set up Theo for a second time. This is our first day to complete two transects in one day! We are already looking to the end of the season and worrying about being able to finish all of the streams before we have to leave the Valleys. Again we packed up our gear, and headed downhill with those heavy backpacks. I like downhill! We carefully walked across the lake ice to the waiting ATV and then I drove it home.

It's fun to drive the ATV and snow mobile over the lake ice, but it's also a little unnerving. The ice is frozen solid in the middle, but all around the edges a moat is opening up as the new ice thaws. There are deep cracks in the ice, so driving is rough going. There are also islands in the middle of the lake where water is thawing, so you have to give a wide berth to areas where the ice looks thin. I can't imagine falling into this frigid water. I wonder if you would ever get warm again. Worse still, imagine how frightening it would be to go under water wearing these heavy clothes and boots! Luckily, they say the lake is very shallow where the ice is thin, but I don't want to test it! Would you?

We each fix our own quick breakfast in the morning. I usually have coffee and a bagel. For lunch we grab beef jerky, energy bars, and candy bars so we can eat on the run while we work. One of us usually cooks dinner for the rest of the team, and tonight John made a delicious shrimp curry with rice. Pete whipped up some gingerbread and we all enjoyed the feast. Mary Ann and Sarah stayed with us for dinner, so it was something of a party!

1. Mary Ann DeMello, another TEA with me displaying

the Kennedy flag. It was so much fun to be able to spend some time with her!

2. Erin cooking.

3. Our backpacks are so heavy, we often need help

adjusting them, putting them on, or getting up with them on. Here Jen is helping Erin adjust the weight more evenly

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