Things hadn't changed much. It was a little warmer when I stepped off the plane this year. Last year being a week earlier, it was about -20 degrees F, this it was just barely below zero.
It's about a mile from the Ice runway to town, about a ten minute trip. There were 45 of us on the flight in, and we are taken to the Galley for our 'in brief'. I was greeted at the galley by my new boss this year, Alan. We made arrangements to meet up after the briefing, and he'd pick me up.
The in briefing they give you all the rules, yet another safety warning or two, and other administrative stuff. After the initial brief, the beakers (Antarctic ease for Science People), leave to get their room assignments, and the ASA employees hang around for the briefing from the ASA area manager. Mostly consists of the rules that if you break you'll get fired and sent home (and loose your bonus). (Bonuses increase every year you come back, last year as a first year person I got 16%, this year it will be 18%, a third year person gets 20%, fourth 22%, and five and then after max.'s out at 24%). The rules you can get fired for consists of fighting, driving a vehicle if you've been driving, growing plants (of any kind) or having any grow lamps, and similar items. Other rules pertain to quiet hours in the dorms, travel rules for leaving town, traveling on the sea ice, etc. The only law enforcement on the station is one of the National Science Foundation Representatives is a special deputy U.S. Marshall, but most all incidents are handled by the company, and people are sent home for getting into trouble.
It only takes about 25 minutes for the briefings and we're off to get our room keys, and settle in. The down side to arriving later in the season was the room I got. Once again they put me in Building 155 (the Galley Building). It was a little better than last year, they only had four beds in the room rather than six, but all the bottom bunks were taken so I had little choice. I dumped off my carry on bag, made up my bunk, and decided to wander on down to the office.
The new shop is in building 159 (everything on the station is numbered, there are almost no street names or addresses). 159 was the home of the Navy maintenance and administrative offices, until they left last year, so it had the nickname as the 'Puzzle Palace'. Last year I worked in the communications shop, which was responsible for the radiophones in the valleys, and other projects. This year I was in the field party radio shop (more on what we do later). With the move, both shops are in the same building. Last year my shop was just across the street from the Galley and a short walk from the dorms. 159 is located at the ice edge, but has the advantage of running water and a toilet (My old shop didn't). After getting the quick tour of the new shop, my boss started the process to get me moved to a better dorm. Everyone has the day of their arrival off, so that they can get moved in before work.
A trip up to the Movement Control Center to pickup my bags, and put them in the room, and I had a little time to kill before dinner. The Galley is one of the social hubs, where most everyone passes through at one time or another. I say a lot of faces from last year, and ran into several friends.