Field Update: Jan. 16, 2011

I’ve spent the past 10 days working with Bob Zook, discussing the outcomes of the SCINI dives under the ice shelf and helping him to pack up his equipment to ship off continent. The head of the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat was visiting McMurdo during the week for discussions with NSF Program Managers and we’ve had some good conversations while he’s been waiting for the arrival of the Swedish Icebreaker Oden. Oden has a contract with NSF to break open the channel from the sea ice edge to the ice pier at McMurdo Station and has been gradually getting closer day by day, as she plows back and forth through the ice. A helicopter from the Oden arrived before the vessel itself was spotted, and the word went out around town. Now people have started to go out onto Hut Point to look for the vessel. The idea is have a crew change tomorrow and get people onto the C-17 airplane leaving for Christchurch, NZ. The timing is tight but the weather is good – if anything, it’s a bit too warm and the plane may be delayed. We’ll see.

People take advantage of the warm day to walk out to Discovery Hut and look out from Vince’s Cross to where Oden is grinding up the sea ice. Bob Zook poses for a picture with Oden in the background.

Off in the distance we see the Nathaniel B. Palmer moving up the channel toward McMurdo. It’s likely that she won’t get here until tomorrow.

It’s a relaxing walk and there are a few things to see, including a solitary penguin that is attracting a crowd as it stands on the sea ice grooming itself.

Bob convinces me to pose for a quick picture – a rare occurrence this season. You can see how long my beard has grown over the past few months. Nice!!

Bob is just the opposite, with no facial hair of any kind. What a team!

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