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Don Voigt’s Blog from WAIS Divide Camp; 79º 28’S, 112º 05’W

1/11/2013

Into The Grinder

I don't know how it got to be the 9th already. The days are ticking away 
and we have a lot of drilling left. We are now in the part of the season 
I call "The Grinder". Others call it "the third-quarter blues" to borrow 
a football term.

The weather will start to change soon, getting colder every day. People 
are starting to get fatigued, they make mistakes and bad things happen. 
Their heads are in New Zealand, the beach in Fuji, or just home. Some 
people are starting to leave for home already. A plane will arrive with 
pax (passengers, or "cargo that talks") here for various administrative 
reasons, just to see the camp, or trying to get back to McMurdo and they 
bring distractions and viruses that camp has not seen all season. Monday 
we received an LC-130 with 15 people from McMurdo. Their energy can 
either be uplifting or annoying. Equipment that has run fine all season 
starts to fail. Tasks stack up and there is more and more to do before 
the end of the season. It is a difficult time. Everyone knows that when 
your LC-130 arrives, you get on it.

Part of my job is to spot the problems and head them off. As well as 
being Chief Scientist, I am directly responsible for a small team of 
three this year which makes it a bit easier. But we are part of a camp 
of 50 to 55 (on some days the number changes several times) and 
everything that happens at camp sends a ripple throughout the 
population. I communicate regularly with the Camp Manager to make sure 
we don't miss a developing problem.

We are now officially out of fresh food, probably later in the season 
than usual. It is amazing how much you miss a piece of fruit or a salad 
until it is no longer available. Now, "fresh fruit" is when you open a 
new can of peaches. Everyone has their food item that they crave far 
into the season. Some years it is pizza for me, especially in the deep 
field. This year it is ice cream.

Our drilling is going well, and in between stints in the Arch processing 
core where it is -28°C, we warm up in the Jamesway. Here, Brad is 
relaxing while our boots dry.

Big boots, big science!
Don

WAIS Divide Camp Relaxing

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