Christmas was very good this year. Unfortunately I managed to loose a couple of weeks of my photos. (Don't worry there are some further down.)
Wednesday, December 22nd was the every other week Bingo (one of my standard vices - it's also held at the bar), and this week was Christmas Bingo. Santa made an appearance, and a good time was had by all.
On the 23rd our shop hosted the Information Systems Department Party (communications is part of IS) that was a nice evening; we grilled steaks and had a fairly mellow evening.
Christmas Eve was the station wide party at the heavy shop (the large vehicle service garage). They had spent quite a bit of time cleaning and decorating the garage. A Chorus of locals put on a half hour show of Christmas Carols. Of course a couple sounded real familiar, but had be adjusted for life on the ice. The McMurdo version of t he twelve days of Christmas had a penguin gave to me: A Trip on a C130, 2 bunny boots, 3 room mates, 5 Skua Eggs, 6 Days a working, 7 hours resting, 10 minute shower. I didn't remember the others to write down.
The brass trio played several Christmas tunes, and several of the local bands played through the evening.
Christmas Day was a rather lazy day for me, watched a little football, and off for another great Holiday Meal. A couple of us guys at dinner commented about how nice it was to have such a non-commercial short Christmas. And that the holiday feeling was great that it only lasted a few days. Given the dis-approving looks we got from most the women at the table, it appeared that they didn't quite agree.
It was a two day weekend. Sunday I decided that I had to get out and get some exercise after a week of eating and partying. I elected to hike Observation Hill. It's the big landmark that shows up in most the photos of town. It's about 800' above sea level, but is a short hike out of town. Last year I had spent quite a bit of time on Crater Hill where most of the radio equipment is located. Crater Hill sits a bit higher than Ob Hill, and provides a little better view, but the trip up Ob Hill was worth the effort.
Mid Week between Christmas, and New Years brought the arrival of the Coast Guard Ice Breaker.
The Ice Breaker will be a common site until the end of the season. (More Photos later). If all goes well, there will also be a morale cruise late in January and a chance to get on the sea.
Friday came around quickly, and the Kiwi's were sponsoring the big New Years Party. I elected to hike over to Scott Base. It's about 3 kilometers from McMurdo, and is a nice hike. Scott Base is much smaller, the New Zealand Operation can only house a little less than 100 people, but they had transformed the new Garage into a party room.
It may not have been times square, but we just about had it all. We toasted the arrival of the New Year with the dropping of the ball, and balloons.
After the ball dropped and the usual playing of the traditional song, we moved outside to get our picture taken by NBC, and New Zealand camera crews. As I was headed out the door I noted that Brian the DJ had picked a song that summed up the Y2K thing about right. "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine...."
The Kiwi Cargo Crew preformed the 'Haka' which is a Maori war chant and dance. The Maori used it to frighten there enemies, it's been made famous in New Zealand by the National Rugby Team, the All Blacks.
There may have been places with fireworks and larger crowds, but all in all, Antarctica was not a bad place to have rung in the New Year. A toast to the evening seemed to sum it up.
Page Sixteen - Ice Stock Start Page