10 October, 1996

I missed my entry for today, its 12:30 AM the next day. Time doesn't mean quite as much here, it's work, eat if you get a chance, try to find time to go to the bathroom, and remember to drink lots of water.

Today I was a lab rat, the divers are beginning to bring back samples so there is lots to be done. Typically five people go to a dive site, three do the diving and two work as dive tenders. The other four people in the group stay in the lab at McMurdo and process what was collected on the previous dive. Working at the lab in the research station is a unique experience. For every scientist there are about five support people plus stockpiles of scientific equipment and supplies that are available on demand.

The sun went below the mountains a while ago but as always, it is still quit light out. It never fails to amaze me that it doesn't get dark down here, maybe that's one of the reasons I can stay up so late and still get up early. I'm told that some people will work for thirty hours straight and then sleep for twenty.

Today was the first day I received e-mail from my students, it was fun to hear from them. The most asked question was "What's the weather like?". The weather conditions here are rated according to temperature, wind-speed, and visibility. On a Condition 3 day, everyone can move freely about the station. Today was Condition 3 even though the temperature was -20. The wind wasn't blowing very hard and the visibility was good. On a Condition 1 day everyone is confined to a protected area.

The lack of visibility is as great of a concern as the temperature. During Condition 1 it would be easy to become lost within a few hundred feet of the Station. To minimize that possibility, there are flags every 100 feet along the routes where travel is required. As I've shown in the photo, occasionally we supplement the flags with our own markings. Everyone that works on the ice is given survival training and must carry emergency survival equipment whenever they leave the station.

I'll start my ice survival training tomorrow morning and will be spending the next few days sleeping in an ice shelter. I hope the weather continues to stay mild. It should be fun.

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