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1 December, 2002

1 December, 2002

What to do at McMurdo for a day? Especially when nearly everything is SHUT DOWN for a two day holiday. Christian recovers the luggage! A shower, clean clothes, laundry, charge batteries, make movies! Well, Thanksgiving dinner at 3 pm, and I bought a bottle of wine at the store to share with my European friends. With Andy Caldwell and Phillipe Herquet, a walk to Hut Point afterwards to fly my first Antarctic kite (nylon very stiff, disposable camera rig appeared to work well)

And a few hours at Gallagher's, the bar across the street. I put on my big parka and hat, took one step in. It was packed, and hot. I turned around, went back to the room, ditched the warm clothes, and dashed across the street in just a shirt. A couple of local bands, but it was mainly the people watching.

Mike Janech told me what this is, but I got hung up on the fact that it has a digestive system in each leg. It makes sense, because they don't really have much of a body. It's about the size of a dinner plate. Being red under enough water is like having no color at all, because water tends to absorb red light.

A leopard seal skull from the Crary Lab collection. A carnivore ?

More from the Crary lab. Antarctica has lots of fossils, and apparently even supported large forest when it was more or less in its present position, sitting on the pole. It must have been warmer then, but understanding this is tricky. It may be very small differences that are enough to trigger an ice age. Just one year where it's so cold that white snow lays on the ground is enough to reflect most solar radiation away, make it colder, and the cycle exacerbates. Why is Antarctica cold now ? A simple but accurate answer is: because it's cold.

A meteorite from the Crary Lab collection. Antarctica is both a good place and a bad place to hunt for meteorites. Good, because it's mostly white, and meteorites are black, bad, because IT'S REALLY COLD. My TEA friend Andy will be out in the field for 6 weeks looking for meteorites. It couldn't happen to a nicer person.

A small part of the vastness that is McMurdo Station, taken from the porch of the National Science Foundation's "chalet". The Crary Lab, where the "beekers" (scientists) hang out, is on the right, flowing down the hill.

TEA Andy Caldwell at Thanksgiving dinner with the members of his meteorite-hunting team.

Phillipe is pleased to get my spin on Thanksgiving.

Christian now understands the meaning of Thanksgiving, because I told him what it was.

In the line for turkey day, we passed a showcase with this map of the first serious US base in Antarctica, called Little America. Note the KITE SHED in the lower left.

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