Journal entry from April Lloyd, December 30

Hi all!

This place is amazing and I've only seen McMurdo station!

The first day here, I spent getting set up with computer in Crary Lab. I have an office with an Internet connection on a Powerbook and also a PC connected to the Local Area Network.

On Day 2, I went to Willie field to see a balloon launch! The balloon will travel around the continent 360 degrees, returning here near McMurdo. It is so large that the Los Angeles coliseum could fit inside! The solar panels that are its payload collect cosmic rays. The launch was exciting as it takes a lot of helium and lots of people power to get such a gigantic balloon aloft!

On Day 3, I took a Skiddoo trip to Cape Evans and Cape Royds. At Cape Evans we had lunch at Scott's hut. Cape Royds is where Shackelton's hut is and also an Adelie penguin rookery. Boy do they stink! =-) But they had chicks and it was neat to actually see them trek across the sea ice toward the rookery. A skua raided one of the nests and took one of the chicks away from a penguin which was sad. The actual ride to and from was gorgeous as the sea ice was still hard and the day was sunny and pleasant. Along the way, we saw seals and other Adelies and passed icebergs frozen in time in the sea ice.

On Day 4, Christmas Eve, I worked to get the pictures and other files I had taken into the computer and to answer some electronic mail from folks back home. It was a mellow day here as everyone was getting ready for the evening party at the Heavy Shop!

Christmas Day!

Dinner was lobster tails and prime rib! It was yummy! The day was spent relaxing and calling home. I played pool a lot with the pilots in the VXE-6 lounge. I'm actually getting to be good at the game of 8 ball! =-) Useful skill?

Well, enough for this entry...I hope to catch up before I leave here for South Pole. I just got word that Dr. Harper and Elizabeth reached the Point of Safe Return from Christchurch and had to turn around due to engine trouble! =-(

This place is FULL of surprises! The only thing certain is that things will change many times before they happen!

See ya!

April Lloyd