Friday, 21 December 2007

Ok. A bit of spare time now. And I just had a sauna, some salad, a shower, and when I finish this blog there's a Shepherd Neame ale waiting for, it doesn't get better than this.

And outside my porthole window there are emperor penguins swimming around and chattering to each other. Nice!

Ok, let's start with the penguins. On Tuesday, before my life turned upside down, there was a last call for penguin trips, and I managed to climb aboard, and get a few more pictures.

The kids are getting pretty old now - and there weren't many parents around. Probably off getting food. But it was a fun trip, and I was happy to go a second time.

Wednesday. I managed to get a lot of my project working, and I was in high spirits when Vicky, our base commander, called.

"Ryan, I'm afraid that we've had to shuffle accommodations around. When you get back from the Shackleton, you'll be living in the containers. I mean - the Annex."

The Annex - sounds pretty la-de-da, doesn't it? Yeah, they are containers. Shipping containers with beds chucked in them. I've been moved from the two-bunk Hilton on the main platform, from which I could crabwalk to the bar and breakfast, to a storage box out in the
Great Big Empty, holding four of us. Well, at least they're brand new, and I know my roommates.

But in the meantime, life is pretty sweet on the Shackleton. Relief has been slow starting, as predicted. We stood around quite a bit today, as they assembled cranes and so on for transport. We finally got into the swing of things at the end of the shift (7:30 pm), and I think the nightshift will hit its rhythm now, unloading boxes at a steady clip.

Yesterday, I showed a picture of the Shackleton from far away. Here's one a bit closer.

And here are three penguins who stood around watching us set up. I've got a video of them, too, but bandwidth won't allow me to send it at the moment.

Here's a picture of the ramp from sea ice onto shelf ice. This is the destination for our sea ice deliveries. It's a bit steeper than usual, and some of the Snow Cats can't haul everything up. The new melt-tank, for instance, needed to be rescued by a Challenger.

And our Snow Cat broke down even before it got near a load of cargo. The main steering hydraulic ram broke. Fortunately, we've got a solid set of mechanics, who had it replaced in short order, ready for the afternoon, and the night shift.

And presumably the morning shift, which is in T minus nine hours.


Tricia said...

Ryan--You will have to let us know how Santa and the reindeer can make an undetected drop-off if the sun isn't setting where you are. I guess you'll just have to turn your back so he can fill your stocking! Merry Christmas, Bill and Tricia

westcoastcousin said...

Merry Christmas Ryan!

From Meagan, Alex, Erik, Stuart and Siri in Victoria. (where, for the 9th time in a row, we will have a green Christmas)

P.S. Stuart says he wishes he lived in Antarctica, so he could have huge snow-fights every day...

Ryan said...

Thanks to you both! I imagine that Santa can sneak presents in by disguising it as waste fuel barrels. We wouldn't have a clue.

And it must be the British in Stuart that wants the snow fights...I swear that the crew of the Shackleton never loses interest in lobbing snowballs around.

Hope Christmases are good in both BC and Arkansas!