Novemebr 19-21, 1994
I am on the evening shift this week and next week. I go to work at 5pm and get off at 0030 (12:30am). I will fill you in on last week.... I had been working the 7am to 3pm shift, and things got VERY busy during the days.
On Saturday (11/19), two remote camps went in: Central West Antarctica (CWA) and Byrd Surface Camp. Due to weather and mechanical problems with planes, both camps were late going in by about two weeks. Once they went in the radios started a-humming. Everyday folks call in with resupply requests, fuel figures, passenger manifest requests/verifications and all KINDS of things. Mostly I just patch the calls through to different places in McMurdo. This year anyone calling in via HF radio can be patched to any phone in town. Last year if someone wanted to talk to someone, the person in McMurdo had to come to the radio room. That made the radio room noisy and crowded. This year I just patch it to a phone in someone's office and we both enjoy a lot more peace and quiet.
I had many instances last week of being alone at the radios and having 2 or 3 of them go off at once AND have the phone ring too! Once I had 3 radios and 2 phones go off while I was talking on another radio! I told everyone to "standby" and then finished with my first. I then went around answering each call systematically. Unfortunately, the first radio I went back to didn't answer me, and instead of wondering why I just moved on to answer the next. It turns out I left the microphone keyed, and it was the I-Net, the radio practically EVERYONE in McMurdo has. So, everyone in town heard me answering radios/phones until someone called in and told me to fix it. How embarrassing! It was just TOO busy to notice that though!
We had a lot of visitors to McMurdo last week too. I don't know if any of them are still here. The movie director James Cameron was here looking around (he made Alien, Aliens, Abyss, Terminator I & II). Also, the Chilean ambassador for the Antarctic. He came to Antarctica for the first time in 1946 and has been involved in the continent in many ways for MANY years. I wanted to meet him as he speaks Spanish and French and English. We also had a Vice Admiral come to visit. He is in charge of air operations in the Pacific for the Navy. I got off work early the day he toured the radio room so didn't meet him either. There were four journalists that the NSF (National Science Foundation) invited to come. I met one of them (Bill Dietrich from Seattle Times). There are two from the Orange Country Register and one from the Boston Globe. They are going to be here for 10 days. Other things I did last wk were go to aerobics again (I had missed the week before due to having a BAD cold) which was FUN and felt GOOD.
I also attended a meeting regarding the play we are going to produce. That put a script into my hands and so I finally got to read the play. It is funny; I think it will be good. One night last week my roommate and I invited someone over that had spent a year in Cameroon with the Peace Corps. It was fascinating to hear his stories. He went as a teacher, but when he got there he found a teachers strike. After one year he had only been able to work 12 weeks (he spent the whole time traveling around) and so after the year he quit. Now he is here! You never know who you are going to meet around McMurdo, it is full of fascinating people!
I also typed Marsgrams one night; this is the second year I have volunteered to do that. Marsgrams are like telegrams kind of, short messages that are sent via HF radio waves to the States. It is Military Affiliated Radio System, and run by volunteers for morale. I enjoy doing it. A marsgram only takes 4-5 days to get to the States, a letter we mail here could take 10 day or longer. I guess that is about all for right now.