Dome for the Holidays

The crowd was a little smaller at Siple Dome, this trip. I had discovered on the trip from McMurdo to the South Pole that the the Satellite terminal was not on the plane, and I'd have some waiting to do. Wednesday the flight that came through was dedicated for another camp, so it didn't have the equipment either. Looks like Christmas at Siple Dome.

Don't get me wrong, the holidays in camp were great, and a lot of fun.

Wednesday night (23rd), we had cookie night. Several of us jumped in in cutting the cookie dough, and icing them. We left the dough making and baking to the professionals. The Christmas lights went up, and the baking began!

The Christmas Eve flight came through about mid day, and still no equipment, so I could relax for the weekend. No flights scheduled til Sunday.

Christmas eve brought out the Ice Core Driller singers. The song was not quite suitable for public consumption.

It was quite pleasant out in the sunshine. The air was still, it was about 20 degrees F, and the sun made things feel rather warm. I made a mistake in trying to keep up with the drillers as the tequila came around, which turned it into an early evening for me.

The cooks deserve a lot of credit for putting on an excellent Christmas dinner in the middle of no where. Cocktail hour started about 4:30 Christmas day, with everything from shrimp, to crab dip.

We had our choice of Turkey, Roast Beef, and all the fixing's. It was a great diner.

We had about 47 at the camp for Christmas. If was a very enjoyable evening.

The theme movie for Christmas, was of course, It's a wonderful life.

Saturday was another day off, and spent reading, and watching videos.

Sunday afternoon, the work began. The flight arrived about 1 PM, and by the time the satellite equipment was unloaded and I had put it in place the Satellite was gone for the day.

Monday morning, I turned on the equipment, and we connected to the terminal at the other end in Malibar, Florida. After a few minutes of consternation, I discovered a cable plugged into the wrong port, and we were then able to surf the internet. The system operated through the day and we had email at Siple Dome. Tuesday morning was spent optimizing the system, and my work was done, however the Tuesday flight had already departed.

Click here if the technical details of the Satellite system interest you.

It seemed a little odd to have an 32Kbps internet connection in the middle of nowhere!

I had some more time to relax and enjoy Siple Dome.

I was lucky one night as I walked out of the dining room to see a 'Sun Dog'. The fog had rolled in and creates a halo around the sun, this is a rather poor picture, but it was the best I was able trying to hold my sunglasses in front of the camera lens.

Thursday morning, I got the word at breakfast that there were no flights scheduled 'til after New Years, I was here for at least another 3 days. I went back to the book I was working on (the fourth for this visit). A few hours later they hunted me down in the recreation tent to tell me that there was a flight that had spent the night out at the Ford Ranges camp, and would be fueling, and returning to McMurdo. I packed my bags, and waited, and waited, and waited. The flight arrived but the weather had not improved at McMurdo so the crew was stuck also. It was a rather quiet New Years Eve, I went to bed early since I might have to be up early for the flight back the next day.

The next morning the word came, we were on our way. It was only the crew and one other passenger on the flight. Which was good, since when we returned to McMurdo, we only had the crew van to get back to town. It was the holiday, and there were no flights scheduled, and no one at the air field to meet us other than the aircraft mechanic.

I grabbed a quick shower (you are only allowed to shower every four days in field camps, since all the water has to be melted and hauled), and headed for Brunch, and the festivities at Icestock.

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