23 November, 2001
Today was Thanksgiving at home, so I tried for hours to call home, but could not make a connection until later that night. With thoughts of loved ones back home, life went on in camp. A little Adelie penguin walked by as I was setting up another tent to see if it would be a better choice than the previously tested tent. It seemed to be slightly bigger and the zippers worked a lot better. Later in the evening, Phil Forte, Dr. Bowser, and Dr. Korsun took gear, equipment, and supplies to the Herbertson Glacier dive site. They took a six-wheeler, which later conked out, and two Ski-Doos pulling sleds. Equipment, gear, supplies, water, camp gear, and extra clothes were hauled 90 minutes away from Explorers Cove. The mission was to begin the drill/melt process, which would take about two days, to make a dive hole for a comparison study with organisms at Explorers Cove. Dr. Bowser had set up a schedule, so two people could oversee the melting process at all times. Dr. Bowser arrived back at Explorers Cove around 2:00 a.m. Dr. Korsun and Phil Forte set up a camp for shelter against the wind, if needed. A generator and a hole-melter were placed on a huge drop cloth. Extreme care had to be taken, so oil or fuel would not get on the ice. In Antarctica, protecting this pristine environment is a major concern and expectation. Dr. Alexander and Dr. Pawlowski will relieve them tomorrow, and Dr. Bowser and I are scheduled to go tomorrow "night". At this time of the year, Antarctica has 24 hours of sunlight, so "night" many times runs into the next day without realizing it.
During the day, before leaving for the Herbertson site, Phil Forte made a surface air supply dive, while Dr. Korsun worked at the airlift (the top one-centimeter of sediment at the bottom was vacuumed and airlifted to the surface). Dr. Korsun sifted through the sediment to collect forams. The forams must be kept in cold "sea water" and never get above 6 degrees Celsius. Dr. Alexander tested out his "foram farm". He invented a tray, which can be lowered down into the hole, where the forams can put out their web of pseudopods to see how widespread their webs reach in their natural environment. He will place this tray with eight culture dishes down through the dive hole to the bottom of the ocean. He will leave them there for four or five days. I spent time sorting through forams. I also tried chipping ice from the blue ice at the transition zone. Dr. Pollock told me that blue ice would not be as salty, so this would be the best ice to get for washing. Sometimes, I feel that I'm in a "cold" version of "Little House on the Prairie". Even brushing your teeth in the morning can be an ordeal. The ice must first be chipped and melted on the preway stove. After brushing teeth, the water collected in a bucket under the sink must be thrown in the wastewater container when it gets too full. We must constantly be aware of the simple things in life. Gloves, sunglasses, and sunscreen are needed just to walk out the door. I find myself watching each step, as I walk out on ice. These things take up time, but along with the time consuming tasks comes the unexpected beauty and surprises. When I went to take hydrology measurements today, I noticed that the moat area had started to melt extensively. The air temperature today was an unbelievable 30 degrees Fahrenheit. It felt like a calm summer day. I am getting acclimated to the cold weather here, although the wind still cuts right through me when it starts to blow.
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