Terry's Field Journal: Winfly 1995 (c) Terry Trimingham August 21, 1995

Winfly is under way!

Every year at the end of winter when it gets light, McMurdo has a week of flight operations that brings in a crew of folks to help get ready for the busy summer season.

This year we have science operations planned for the Dry Valleys, so a larger than normal crowd is coming down. In the 5 days of the "winter fly-in" we will almost double our population, adding an additional 200+ people to the current 244. Over 70 people came in yesterday and they all look un-naturally BROWN. I recognized many faces. It is strange to see some of them, most all I know from having met them here. It is bizarre to think that they have been back to their homes, seen their families and friends, enjoyed a nice summer and are now back in McMurdo for another season, when I have been here the entire time!

The new people have been counseled that we winter-overs are used to our routines and we are all tired and "toasty", so to tread lightly around us. I had dinner with one of my friends that had just flown in and he said this year seems pretty good. He has come in at Winfly before and seen more than one person get up and leave the galley as they couldn't stand the intrusion of a new crowd. It is true that we have all been in quite a routine, but more than one person has told me they are excited to see some NEW faces for a change!

Yesterday was also the first official day of sunrise, but it was very anti- climatic. We had a very thick cloud covering so the golden orb was never spotted. The coming of light has been very gradual; we have had increasing twilight for a few weeks now. The sun popping over the horizon is not very different from the sun lurking just below the horizon, no matter how you approach it.

Today is the second day of Winfly and it is amazing to see the change in the weather. We have had a very mild month to date, the temperatures have been relatively warm (around -10F or higher) and many, many days with calm winds. Sunday, when the flight operations started, the wind took up almost on cue. The first two flights made it in, but the wind raged all last night, and we woke up to a condition 2 this morning (dangerously cold temperatures due to wind chill). There were two in- bound flights to McMurdo this morning that had to turn around as the visibility dropped and so did the temperatures. Now it is around -20F and the wind is gusting in earnest. Just as well, we wouldn't want the new arrivals to think they came into anything easy. After all, Antarctica is known as a harsh continent!

Copyright (c)1995 Terry Trimingham. This information may be redistributed online for education projects as long as this copyright notice is included. Permission to use this material in print or for commercial purposes must be obtained in writing prior to use from the author.