4 November, 1996

Nov. 4, 1996

Today we went through sea ice survival training--it was very informative and also very necessary for the extreme conditions of Antarctica. All of our project will be out on the sea ice so it is important that we all know how to identify cracks in the ice and also know how to watch out for each other in bad weather. Identifying the cracks isn't that hard, you just watch for changes in color of the snow or ice, anything unusual in texture and once you find one you need to determine how wide it is and if it is safe to drive your vehicle over it or not. We also learned a lot about frostbite, hypothermia, dehydration (the humidity is extremely low here so it is very dry)--we also learned how to set up a tent on the ice and what to do if someone in your group gets lost. We simulated a whiteout by putting white buckets over our heads and trying to devise a plan to rescue a group member who had gone out to the bathroom and didn't come back because he couldn't see past his elbow, that is how poor the visibility can get here! It was pretty cool, we had a rope and flags and everone hung onto the rope and made semicircle sweeps out form a central point. THe conditions today were almost a whiteout anyway. WE were called inearly because the weather was getting bad. They clal a clear day here a Condition 3 day, and Condition 2 is when is is pretty windy and overcast and hard to see but not impossible--during Condition 2 some people are allowed to travel but some areas might be closed, and a Condition 1 is when no one is allowed to go anywhere!

I hope this explains a little bit of what I have been doing! Last night we walded out to Hut Point, where Scott had one of his many huts and saw 2 Weddell seals! That was when I finally felt like I was somewhere really special.


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