Ah, melt tank duty. Started off as a lot of work; then got a lot easier, now is a -hell- of a lot harder. Permit me to explain.
Monday and Tuesday, we were shovelling it in with nothing but elbow grease. Dig, dig, dig. Wednesday and Thursday, we were assisted by a huge-ass bulldozer. The dozer (with Lance at the helm) would push a pile of snow over the hole; we stick our shovels in and keep the hole clear, and the snow just falls in. I say "just", but it's still enough work keeping that hole clear. But a lot less than digging and throwing.
By Friday, we got into a really good rhythm for keeping the hole clear, and the snow just kept going in at high velocity. And then, next thing we knew, that sucker was full right up to the surface. "Hooray?" I thought for a nanosecond, but then instincts kicked in and I realized this is probably a very bad thing. This perception was immediately backed up by a torrent of expletives from everyone around me.
Yes, the melt tank tube was jammed. We had to go subterranean to see how bad the damage was. So, this was my chance to see the fabled Halley tunnels.
We opened a trapdoor in the snow and went down about 10 feet into a chamber. Then another trapdoor, and another chamber. Then a few more. I think we passed the lechers and the covetous on one of the levels, but Jim, my "Virgil" guide, would only stop at each level long enough to check the melt tank tube to see if it was still jammed with snow. And it was. All the way down to the bottom level, where we actually crawled into the melt tank itself, to find it was jammed with snow too (and by "we", I meant Toddy; I couldn't fit in). So, we slid down Satan's leg and left.
We must now wait for the snow in the melt tank to - surprise, surprise - melt. Then, tomorrow shall be The Day of A Thousand Pokes, where we shall dislodge seven stories of snow in the pipe. That should fill my exercise quota for a while. I'll grab some pictures.
On another note, people are starting to notice that certain dishes are getting repeated more often these days, as the imbalance in our food supply starts to reach noticeable thresholds. We currently have surpluses in brussel sprouts, kidney meat, baked beans, and All-Bran. We have deficiencies in Ribena, real ale (grrrr), and probably many more that I don't know about. But no problems. We can last another month until the ship gets in. Although if the ship is late, we could be in for a bout of flatulence and uber-fibre that may undermine the entire base, with these rations.