30 November, 1997

Hi Everyone,

A nice easy Sunday here in McMurdo. The temperature has gone up the wind has gone down and the sun is warm. Just like a typical late February day in Iowa. Only one little problem, when the temp. gets above freezing, McMurdo becomes MudMurdo. There are full potholes everywhere. The streets are dirt and the street crew does do a good job trying to fill them but it is simply easier to try to drain them. They have a little plow like thing that makes a trench from the pothole to the side ditch. These things are all over the streets now. In a few more weeks the snow here in town should all be gone. The warm weather should keep the mountain streams running so I can sample them also. I took a walk to the sea ice this afternoon and a large (I think it was a walurus) was laying right there sunning. The others said it was a seal but it was a big one then. He never moved at all and I was 20-30 feet from him. The sea ice is going fast, the ice runway will shut down in a couple of weeks and then the planes have to land on the permanent snow fields several more miles away. The first big icebreaker should arrive early January and break a path for the resupply ships to follow. One will bring in all the canned food and construction materials and then a big tanker will bring in enough fuel to fill all the storage tanks for the year. I would not like to only be able to get supplies once a year but that is how it must be done here. The harbor will be total water and a few icebergs in February, then start to freeze up again soon. The sun will set for a few minutes I think I heard someway say on Feb. 16. Worked on the e-mail answering most of the morning. Don't hesitate to send me a note, I will answer when I can but it will probably have to wait until I get back to McMurdo. Got the dry filters from the oven this afternoon and did the weighing and calculating. Put them back into the really hot furnace then to do the Total Organic Carbon test tomorrow. That will keep me busy for a while on Monday. Went to a science lecture this evening in which a researcher attached a video camera to a seal's head. They then cut a whole in the winter ice and let the seal loose. It realizes that it must stay close to breath and will stay around the hole until spring comes to open up some other cracks for air. No other seals are around because they can't breath and you can follow what this seal does for months. Really an interesting talk. Lots of things like this going on here. There is a science lecture every Wednesday and Sunday evening. Really high-tech research. Better go. I'm OK and doing fine. See ya

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