Antarctica
Thanksgiving at Siple Dome



Saturday was our holiday for Thanksgiving. It allowed for a two day weekend with our regular day off on Sunday. Of course in a field camp, having the day off is a relative term. Someone still has to put snow in the melter, the cooks still prepare the Thanksgiving dinner (but we are on our own on Sunday with plenty of leftovers), and the other tasks that have to be completed to keep camp running.

I spent a few hours in the morning with the GOES satellite equipment I'm setting up, and the afternoon watching videos, and reading. In the five days I've been here, I finished two books. Dinner was scheduled for 5:30, and cocktail hour started about 4.

The afternoon before dinner, the weather was ok, (light wind, temperature of about 0o F), and several people were out throwing a nerf football around. One of the PICO drillers had brought a serious kite with her, and spent time with it.

Thanksgiving dinner was fantastic! One of the cooks spent the night before up cooking some of the turkey. It's definately a challenge to get everything prepared with a limited kitchen. We had Turkey and all the fixin's. They broke out the cloth tablecloths, and we re-organized the dining room, to create two long tables. The holidays are about the only time everyone is in camp at the same time. Friday night was pie night, and many in camp spent the evening baking pies. We ended up with about 15 pies, everything from apple to of course pumpkin. Real mashed potatoes, stuffing, and even cranberry souce, made for a great Thanksgiving meal.

I never counted after we sat down, but we set the tables with 60 seats. It was a great crowd, and everyone assured me that Thanksgiving was much better in camp than back at McMurdo.

About 9 o'clock the cork wars started. The corks from the wine bottles started flying back and forth accross the room. It wasn't long before it escalated among the camp staff, and they were wearing the remaining whipped cream from desert. I manged to abandond my seat in the nick of time, and only took a grazing shot, across the shoulder that wiped off easily. A couple of the cooks, the camp manager, and a few others needed a shower before the evening was over. Something about needing to get the whip cream out of thier hair over rode the every four day shower policy.

I retired about midnight, but my understanding is that a quite a few were up til 3 AM. Might explain why things were so quiet on Sunday.


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12/4/98