16 November, 2000
There are only two species of penguins that are predominant on the main landmass of the Antarctic continent. They are the Emperor and Adelie penguins.
The Chinstrap penguin species can be found on the Antarctic Peninsula. Penguins are only found in the Southern Hemisphere
Having a day off doesn't necessarily mean that the evening will be restful around here. The bad weather yesterday was more of a nuisance all day that kept us around camp, and we basically lounged around as much as you can in a fish hut. With evening's arrival, however, we had to go to work when winds raged in at fifty and sixty miles per hour and toppled our outhouse. We had to wait for the winds to die-down and then go to work putting it back and tying it down before going to bed. This morning started off like last night began so again it was not weather that we could go to work in. Our census is now two days behind schedule. The rule around here is if you can't see Little Razorback island, you don't leave. The middle of this afternoon we had a break in the snow and we had a view of Little Razorback, so Katsu, Yoko and I headed over to Turks Head hoping not to get caught between this break in the weather. We had to detach two data recorders and cameras and tag one of the females. By the time we finished, the winds of change were in on us, so we headed back. The break was still holding here, so we were able to attach two instruments to an adult female here at Big Razorback. So our day off did turn out to be about three successful hours of work late this afternoon.
I have really enjoyed being a snowmobile driver. I have to get dressed up pretty warmly on these windy and cold days, but it is still a lot of fun driving over the snow and ice. Turks Head is a regular part of our census and attaching data locations. The drive here is abut five miles one way. We have made that round-trip everyday that the weather has been good. The trip we took to Cape Royds and the Adelie penguin rookery was between fifteen and twenty miles one way. When driving across sea ice, the greatest danger is unseen ice from iceberg tips that are sticking out and cracks. If the snowmobile should go over these uncentered they could tip over or be damaged. It's important to see your landmarks too.
I've had time to answer a few questions that have been sent my way and I thought I'd share it with all my journal readers, in case you were wondering too.
- Can you snowboard in Antarctica? Now a days, no, but years ago the New Zealand station had an area where it was safe to do some downhill skiing. The crevasses that have opened up in that area, however, make it very dangerous to do anymore.
- What is the latitude and longitude of McMurdo? McMurdo is located at S77 latitude and E166 longitude.
- Is sleeping difficult because there is no darkness? Yes, because the day never gets dark, it is easy to keep working, and my body has not adjusted to the time here. We have shutters in our huts to close and block out the light , but 2:00 in the afternoon looks just like 10:00 at night except the sun is on the other side of the hut. It is no darker though.
- If your snowmobile broke down and you were by yourself, what would you do? You can never travel by yourself out here. You also always carry a hand radio, and you must check in with the McMurdo Operations center and tell them that you are leaving, where you are going, how many people are with you, what you are traveling in, and when you expect to arrive. When you get to your destination, you must contact them again and check in that you and your party made it. If you are an hour late, they will send out the Search and Rescue team and they will travel the route that you planned on check out. Remember too that we always travel with our extra set of ECW gear and survival equipment for each person.
-What is the warmest and coldest it has been? Since I arrived the warmest day was a sunny 27 degree day with very little wind. The coldest days have been the windy days when it has been about 10 degrees but, with the winds, the wind chill was around *30, -35. It is actually 40 to 50 degrees warmer here on the outer continent than it is closer to the South Pole.
- Not one day here has been like any other day. The weather changes and the job I do changes from day to day. The seals' behaviors and locations change. The ice and snow is changing. Meals are different and chores are different each day. Even the places we snowmobile to or walk to around here change. I am definitely not bored.
To stay _________, it is important to eat before you go _______, stay hydrated, and take extra food and water. It is also important to ___________ in layers, but not wear ____________ as the first layer, and _____________ when you get _________ by moving around a lot.
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