Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Post-Antarctic Life

Well I've been home for almost a week now. I didn't find the transition too bad. I've been sleeping a lot, so I guess that means I was tired (or that I'm just a lazy bum!). I'm spending this week up in Minnesota visiting Elizabeth and my family, with the plan to head back to Ames some time this coming weekend and start back to work. I've got a fair amount of work to do in the coming months. There are some updates to PSICAT that I want to get done before the sampling workshop. I also need to get the codebase sorted and released along with the data so that the ANDRILL folks can start browsing and playing with it. I need to book some tickets to go visit my uncle in Phoenix. Oh yeah, and I need to write my thesis. :)

In an unrelated note, there's been a fair amount of media interest in ANDRILL and PSICAT, so I've been talking to folks and hopefully will find some time to write a few articles for various outlets. Jon Erickson of Dr. Dobbs called me up the other day and asked me a few questions for a podcast. Thanks to the magic of editing, I sound like I actually know what I'm talking about :)

Friday, January 12, 2007


I made it home. It was a rather grueling 40+ hours on planes and in airports, but getting home and sleeping in my own bed was worth it. I slept most of the day yesterday; waking up only to move around the apartment. I had to get re-acquainted with the futon and the recliner by taking naps on them :)

Last night, Dick and I went to Cinzia's house for dinner and then we rounded up the boys and went out to drink a few beers and show off my newly acquired pool skills. They weren't near as good as I remember them being in Antarctica so it must be something about the southern hemisphere...maybe a rotation thing.

Here are a few pictures from the last days down there:

I've got a few errands to run today then it's off to Minneapolis to spend some time with Elizabeth. I'll be traveling (don't worry, just around the midwest) for the next couple of days/weeks, but I'll be in radio contact.

I just want to thank everyone who followed along with me on this journey. It was fun doing the blogging and it was great hearing from everyone who was reading along. Every time I got a comment or an email from someone who found the blog, it boosted my spirits and made for a great day. So again, thanks.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Game Off

Well we just brought the last of the cargo over, so we're officially done! I took my bags over last night, so we're just waiting until the flight tonight. We fly from the ice around 10PM, which puts us in Christchurch around 3 or 4AM. I'll probably just hang out at the airport for a bit and then catch my flight home. So hopefully the next blog entry will be from home.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Ice Breaker Cometh

The Odin arrived today, just in time to see the main group of ANDRILLians off:

This picture is from last night. It was still a ways off the point, but this morning it made it to base. I wonder if they heloed people across so they could sleep on terra firma. The Polar Sea is still bringing up the rear, and no sight yet of the main supply vessel.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Fear no beer

Yeah, that's a Guinness in my hand. Never let it be said that I fear any beer :) Here's a picture of me in one of the rare moments where I'm not wearing a stocking cap. And by the looks of that shaggy hair, I should be. The picture (courtesy of Dhiresh) is of Gavin, Cliff, and me at the ANDRILL party.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Parties and Delays

Things have been pretty hectic around here the last couple of days with things wrapping up. It's also been complicated by the fact that I've tried (with mixed results) to switch over to the day shift. Here's a brief summary of what I've been up to the last couple of days:

The night shift had a dinner arranged for us at Scott Base on the 1st. It was at the normal daywalker dinner time, so I had to get up in the middle of my night to go over there. The highlight of the trip, besides the food, was the fact that it was Margarita Mondays over there. The margaritas were made with glacial ice formed around the time the Roman empire fell. The Kiwis have someone doing ice coring this season, and she graciously donated some of her cores. I also played a few games of pool with Jim Cowie, who heads up the operations side of ANDRILL.

Tuesday, the 2nd, was the ANDRILL end of season party. We rented one of the bars and threw a big party with lots of good food and tasty beverages. Everyone was in good spirits since most of the work was done, and Megan put together a nice video/slideshow with some funny memories from the season.

Yesterday was a long day. I worked for about 18 hours trying to finish things up for the report. Mainly it's been exporting the PSICAT diagrams at various scales. There were quite a few new things that I've had to write on the fly, so I'm looking forward to getting back home and cleaning up the code.

Today almost everyone was supposed to fly out. But they've been having some mechanical problems with the planes, so it was delayed until tomorrow. Earlier we just heard that they won't leave until Sunday at the earliest. And that only gets them to Christchurch. There are no available seats on any flights leaving Christchurch until the 10th at the earliest. So even if they get out on the 7th, they're stuck in Christchurch for a couple days. So there are a lot of bummed people. But what can you do?

In other news, these last couple of days we've had a bit of excitement. There are two icebreakers, the Swedish 'Odin' and the US 'Polar Sea', that are cutting the channel through the sea ice for the main supply vessel. So we've been making regular walks down to Hut Point to see their daily progress. It's slow going for them, the ice is about 12ft thick, so I think they're only making about 1 mile per day. But with any luck they'll be here in the next few days. Below is a photo of the Odin from earlier today (it's a pretty small smudge on the horizon):