Tuesday, October 31, 2006

October 10, 1975: Friday

Oh, what a beautiful day. Sunshine, warmth, clear skies, beautiful. Everyone laughing and joking. Mail’s coming in by noon. All right!

Spent the morning cleaning the lab. Moved Doug’s stuff to my closet. (My roommate is coming today). We saw a brand new bunny boot at lunch, with someone putting his initials on it. Far out. So warm, I took off the parka and ran around in my State Champ jacket. Jack came up, took some rocks, my address, and started our winch and told us how it works.

All sorts of Kiwi drillers and mustached USARPS, all new. My roommate is Steve Morrell, a Penguin Person. He’ll be leaving for Cape Crozier soon. He’s from California. Jan Boyd. Have heard a lot about her. (Yap, yap, yap, yap, yap.) Only female in McMurdo. Don’t think she isn’t rich by the time the station closes. Looks like a cross between Pam Harpham and Anita, but shorter than I had imagined. Rings all over and smokes Marlboros. She has a high velocity voice. One other older lady, who is a H&N secretary.

Six letters, with four different zips. I think the problem is I gave everybody the wrong zip code. Oh, well.

Two from home (air mail stamps enclosed), none from Kay. One from Marylin Bath, Nancy, Deb, and ANDRIA! None from Joy or Cathy.

At lunch I got called for a phone patch. Gave Cathy’s number, and charge it to mine. And no connection. Told them to look up a new number. It was busy. Signal faded out. No luck. Tended to ruin my day, not getting a letter from her and Joy. But on the other hand Debrushka (addressed to Paul R. Baer, all right) and Andria made my day happy.

We’re getting the new guys psychologically acclimatized to our catabolic nonsense. They walk around wide-eyed, staring, whispering under their breaths, “Antarctica.”

“Hey! Clean the bathroom!”


Letters off to home, Baths, and Nancy. Thinking about Deb’s and Andria’s. Guess that Cath’s and Joy’s will be down later. But then, the rule is that post cards don’t count. So I owe ‘em all letters. I rationalize pretty good, don’t I?

Interrupted by Bio-Mike while writing to Deb. Two GFAs are geology graduates, and think highly of DVDP. I’m either going to enjoy myself or make a fool of myself. Party in Mike’s room. Telling Peter Bunch and Jack Steinman stories to the new guys. Won’t get Andria’s letter written.

Days Total:
$7.00 Bought a USARP baseball cap and a penguin.

Monday, October 30, 2006

October 11, 1975: Saturday

Finished Deb’s letter and wrote Andria. She writes very well, descriptive. Had a big meeting with Dave and Bob Thompson and Leon and Jack Hoffman. We decided to tell Washington to make the decision. Now. Dave brought some pictures taken on the flight down. Very poor pictures for our purpose. But there was one great picture of the Blue and Hobbs Glaciers, Mount Debrushka, and the Royal Society Range. Have got to get a hold of it.

Mailed the letters home. Cal thinks I’m crazy for writing four and five page letters. Maybe he’s right. Cost me $1.08 for the one home, plus some customs information, and 39¢ to mail Deb’s. They were nice at the Post Office about my inept mailing habits.

Dr. Treves spent the afternoon writing a nasty message to Washington telling them to say Yes, or say No, and have a good reason for No. Time to make a decision, and do it honorably. It was a very interesting letter.

Cal and I worked on thin sections, and petrography. I am learning, little by little. We walked up to the Nuclear Plant to take pictures of Mount Erebus (it was really puffing away), Mount Discovery, and the mountains.

After supper we developed three rolls of his black and white film. I think he wastes a lot of film to get good pictures. I have no objections. I’ll have to see them enlarged before I can comment on their quality.

The new head mechanic looks like Lou Costello, I swear. Short, fat, flat nose, slight mustache when he doesn’t shave. An exact replica. (Another couple of jokers look like Captain Kangaroo). Anyway, his name is Frank A. Costello. Yes, believe it or not. I hope the “A” stands for Abbot. He dropped by to borrow some writing paper and an envelop. He talks with a bit of a lithp, but I’ve never held that againtht any man.

Started to ready about Harry Truman in Plain Speaking. He was a doddering old man, with all those infuriating habits. But he had a flair for honesty. And words.

About Eisenhower: “Of course literacy is not an absolute essential for the Presidency. So far as I know, it is not anywhere written into the Constitution as a requirement, but somehow, I do feel more relaxed with a literate man in the White House.”

Said farewell to Jack. He had Jo Ann B. dressed up like a train (the AT&SF).

Learned today that Captain Van Reeth, the new commander, has a son. He works for Holmes and Narver. Ah hah.

The ensign in charge of Special Services is a lady. I’ll have to check this sucker out.

Total Expenditures:
$0.67 Stamps.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

October 12, 1975: Sunday

Up early to help Tim. Played mellow songs. “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” for the Winter Overs. Then some good heavy things. Jan came down to visit. Tim doesn’t really like her. She has a face like Hot Lips Houlihan and a voice to match. She leaves the lingering essence of “Flau-en-tet” behind her when she goes. She and Tom were sitting together in the mess, so Tim razed him a little.

The Happy Hawaiian didn’t show up, so ol’ Raoul took over. Played album sides. Got a lot of requests, from Tim (Alice Cooper and the Beatles), from a mess cook (Tull), and one for Rick Wakeman and Genesis and Marshall Tucker and Grateful Dead. Had a blast, welcoming everyone to “Radio McMurdo, Capital of Antarctica.” Met Pat Somebody or Other, Pete’s roommate. He wandered in. He’s a Country freak.

An Army dude named Bob “Spider” is in charge of fixing up the station with new equipment. I played Close to the Edge for Sam and turned things over to him.

Met Donna, an enlisted woman. She’s short and fat, but has a face like Marylin Bath. (And hair and freckles.) There are some other enlisted women down here. First year for it. I just know that Marie will show up, but I don’t have 20 dollars.

Locked myself out of my room. Called the Chalet. Wouldn’t have done it if I’d known there was a conference. Seems, according to Bio-Mike, that someone got killed today.

That’s a sobering thought.

Mail, again. Got a package from home with my duffel bag - clothes bag in it. I can reuse the box. Also had all the papers up to September 12. No wedding announcement. A letter from home and Grandma. Gee, she likes to talk about all her friends illnesses.

I think I’ll enter the football contest, just for the heck of it, even though I am an employe’s son and it’ll be five weeks late. Send along a letter to the editor, too.

Going to write Grandma, if I can remember the address and start to work on the McCormick-Guy family tree.

Got another letter from Nancy. It was almost mushy. ‘Tis a very delicate problem. The letter deserves an answer. It was a good letter. But I don’t like to be in sticky wickets. When someone’s feelings are going to be hurt, I know a fairly painless extraction. But it’s not my style. Maybe I should just tell Deb, and it will go away.

Six mailings, four zip codes. Gee. But they still get to me.

Speaking of ol’ Deb, got another letter from her. Started off with “Hi, love.” I wish she’d quit doing that. She even got her own zip code wrong (it was Auburn’s). She was in a Mood for a Day. I hoped I helped her.

The monthly bulletin from church came down. Good old junk mail. Haven’t even met J.B. Choate.

One from Janet. Signed it Jan and no name on the return address. But I know her handwriting and her way of phrasing things. She wins a penguin.

And from Cathy. Said she and Toodles missed me. The last six weeks have all been worthwhile and there is peace in my soul.

Death affects different people in different ways. Some people die from it. (I’m sorry.) Jeff Rude was a nice, quiet scuba diver, for what I knew of him. Very dedicated. He happened to be driving 504 on very thin ice and did not get out when the trackmaster went in. It’s strange. Everyone knows, but no one will say, that Jeff is dead. So I’m still not positive.

John Oliver goes on like nothing happened. A little too much like nothing happened. Dan Watson relates his misfortune in the accident. I don’t know the seal person. They walked fifteen miles from Turtle Rock to McMurdo.

Sam and Emmett went out to mark the bad ice. A job has to be done. Pete is indiscreet. My main source of information. Crude enough to ask the wrong questions to get the right information.

I feel sorry for Bio-Mike and Dave. Bio-Mike would have been the one responsible three days ago. He’s upset because he is no longer responsible and can do nothing. I think he feels shut out and still feels a bit responsible. And Dave. I wish that he and I were friends for I feel he needs someone to talk to. (And I need the facts.) But I cannot intrude. He was defensive before about safety. And now he might get irate.

Me. I cannot be happy when misfortune happens to others. I feel guilty being happy about Cathy’s letter.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

October 13, 1975: Monday

Nebraska beat Kansas 16-0. OU beat Texas. Spent the morning writing letters, running errands, and polishing my thin sections. Boy, did I make a mess of that thing. Not unusual, considering it’s my first try.

Mailed the penguin to Janet. The guy at the Post Office really hassled me. A buck twelve, plus ten cents for having personal correspondence in it.

We got the negatives and prints of the break out. Cal and I made ten copies of the drill site frame. It’s very clear what’s going on in terms of ice thickness. The pictures are good. My project is going to be trying to make a panoramic view from Discovery to Bernacchi from different frames.

Max made up this really neat cable spool frame for winding up the sounding cord. He’s a good designer. Jack Hoffman took my old office. We changed typewriters. Told him his was better. I don’t know if it is or not.

Nartsiss showed Cal and me all his data from the Erebus Ice Tongue samples. Photomicrographs of the crystal structure and electroconductivity tests at different depths to analyze the amount of salt.

We filtered the ash layer and put it into the oven to dry. Dr. Treves is disappointed because it doesn’t look very positive as an ash fall of any significance. We started filtering the bottom samples, but that’s a long, slow process.

Did the wash after supper. I wrote Grandma for family tree information. Got Deb’s letter finished. Read some more Plain Speaking. Had a discussion with Doug about music theory. Asked Deb to be our tutor.

Pat, Pete’s roommate, plays the steel slide guitar. He had it out. I think it was invented by someone who didn’t like to play chords. I think he’s a pretty good bull shooter. I put some on him about DVDP. He’s an Earth Science - Astronomy major. Hope I didn’t get too deep, because I know I would be wrong about what I said. Sort of screwed up describing the geology of Ross Island. Stayed up late to write Cathy so I could get up early to get it in the mail tomorrow. Good night.

$1.22 Stamps.

Friday, October 27, 2006

October 14, 1975: Tuesday

Ran errands this morning. Took the dried bottom samples from 15 feet out and sieved them into grain sizes. Had to fix the sieve shaker, first.

Cal put the samples in the epoxy, after I weighed them and made percentage data. I actually have some real, live Data. It’s sort of thrilling. Now I have to find out what to do with it. The particles are concentrated in the first, second, and fourth largest sizes. The other sample isn’t dry yet.

Dr. Treves is kind of interested in my latitude and longitude determination. The plan is for a driller, Bob Thompson, and Dr. Treves to drive a snowtrack to the site, have a helicopter bring in a crew to cut a hole in the ice, fly away (after bringing a surveyor) and have the three of them sit at the hole, measuring currents. I might get to fly in the helo! But they need strong guys, and I may not get to go.

Cal and I have a good system for getting things out of the Bio-lab or the BFC. We walk in, say we need one thing, then gradually pick up more things on the way out.

Met Peter Barrett. He’s the coring geologist. He has a machine that measures the speed of sound through the core.

Doug came by to help us put the X -ray machine together. The ammeter doesn’t work and that’s holding us back. Doug had the same impression about Pat that I did, but it bothered him. I’m used to it.

No mail. Didn’t expect any. Might get one from Joy on Thursday. Hope so. If not, I’ll write her next Sunday. Saw some perfume, called “Joy,” in the Ship’s Store. $31.58. Glad I already bought her birthday present. Helped Calvin buy 100 sheets of Kodabromide print paper, 86¢.

I think the panoramic areal view is going to work. I spent the night in the dark room lining things up.

We’re going to film a TV series and cal it S*A*R*P.

Sidebar: The Christchurch papers had the story about Jeff’s death.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

October 15, 1975: Wednesday

Peter Barrett is a genius, or must be. He figured out, from the Japanese instructions, how to get useable data out of the photo sizer. It’s complicated, but learnable.

I feel like I’m doing an experiment. Weighing sieve fractions, finding per cents, being careful with procedure. Dr. Treves took yesterday’s largest size and the per cents I did to look at. Maybe this is what writing a paper is all about. Just like writing up an experiment.

Spent the afternoon learning the photo sizer. By guessing at the size range you want analyzed, you figure out the “h” setting from an equation dealing with Adsorption, Density, Viscosity, etc. Then you take your chart record. Plot the Delta recorder position, multiplied by the midpoint of Delta-Tee (which is Delta Mu from a graph depending on which Tee you use). This is your partial fractions, which can be computed into percentages.

Peter met Peter.

Peter B. needed probability graph paper. Nobody around here has heard of it.

Boston lost in ten innings.

It occurred to me today that the price for eternal peace is eternal wishy-washiness. There can be no conviction where there is no conflict.

We got the go-ahead to drill IA. Hurrah!

The trackmaster was only a mile off-shore when it went through. It was an accident that could not have been prevented nor occurred by negligence.

The big long print paper to do the mural on didn’t develop right. So instead of wasting six hours in the dark room, I printed some of the negatives as 8 by 10s. Three of Mount Debrushka from the air, one of the site, and a couple of Mount Discovery and the Daily Islands. I wrote this whilst they washed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

October 16, 1975: Thursday

It snowed last night, a fine white powder undisturbed by the wind. Kay would be out with a broom sweeping it off.

Spent the morning trying to explain to Peter Barrett exactly what I was, so he wouldn’t expect too much out of me. Especially after he caught me trying to be a sedimentologist.

They had a memorial service for Jeff.

Chaplain Merlin Howe (called Merlin the Magician) looks like a cross between Radar and Bohaty, with a Baptist accent. He got run into yesterday by Orville

Dr. Treves took a helo ride with Mike Wing out to survey a route to the site. Calvin took Peter over to Scott Base to call Wellington.

Mac Center called and told me to meet the helo with a truck. I ran down to the garage, and to the Chalet. No luck. They gave me trouble because our truck was gone. Very frustrating to be blamed for doing your job.

Fought off that feeling, went down to the pad, explained to Dr. Treves what happened and carried his bag to the hotel. Nobody told me anything about this flight, and then expects me to take the responsibility when things go wrong. I attribute the feeling to fatigue.

Lost contact with the game after 3 innings. Reds 2, Red Sox 0.

Spent the afternoon metering 600 meters of steel cable onto a makeshift spool, and 1050 feet of white cord onto Max’s spool.

Met Henry Harris, a hydrologist who’ll be working for DVDP in the Valleys. The surveyor from Scott Base was here. He needs 12 hours to get an accurate fix. We give him 5. He’ll take sun readings. He wanted astro shots. Unfortunately the stars don’t come out.

Went to bed at eight and wrote this Friday morning.

Here’s the plan. Monday Dr. Treves, Mike Wing, and Peter Barrett will take the snowtrack out to the drill site. Monday Calvin will take two Navy trucks out to flag a road. Tuesday I’ll take a helo out with a crew to cut a hole in the ice for the current meter. I’ll be in charge of loading the helo.

Henry is a big Danny Oestmann. There’s a Navy officer who looks like Hawkeye.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

October 17, 1975: Friday

Started over on my granite thin section. That first one was a real disaster. Did the first finishing of our sieve samples. Cal did the fine sampling and mounting.

Read Peter’s paper on sediments from the Glomar Explorer’s Ross Sea drilling. I’m beginning to understand. I made a histogram (bar graph, you illiterates) plotting phi size against per cent. I need to check the sieve number against half-phi intervals. I think they’re right. I wonder if I know what I’m doing. One of these days, I’ll get up enough courage to ask Peter about percentiles.

Red Sox won yesterday. But we lost the ball game, again, with the score tied in the bottom of the fourth.

Two Navy guys came up to go over plans to flag with Calvin and one of the older drillers. I’d met one of them somewhere before (full black beard and friendly eyes). The other’s name is Otis.

Read about icebergs and sea ice today. Ross claimed he’d seen icebergs a hundred miles long. Ours has got to be twice that long.

Explained to Nartsiss about our traverse at supper. He doesn’t understand me too well, because I don’t speak English very well. He wanted me to repeat what I said, “using a subject and a predicate.” I wanted him to give a lecture at the Chalet Sunday. He was very reluctant about it. Peter’s going to give it, because Dr. Treves didn’t want to prepare in so short a time, with a trip coming up.

Mike brought us back a rock from Hutton Cliffs.

There are two Navy officers (ladies) that might be worthwhile knowing. One is on crutches (the only pair in McMurdo) and has black hair and glasses. The other is blonde and reminds me of Valerie What-ever-her-name-is-now.

We have the largest separatory funnel in Antarctica.

The Crozier penguin people loaded up in three Navy Nodwells. What a collection. My roommate leaves tomorrow at six. Hope the weather is good for them. I’ll miss his tape player, but only two of his tapes, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils (for Ann) and Beethoven’s Fifth.

Doug stopped by. Talked about the CIA. I think Tim is the real CIA agent, keeping tabs on Dr. Treves. I like advanced paranoia. It’s so delightfully unreal. Doug takes it seriously, I think. He takes a lot of things seriously, which I classify as non-important.

Bio-Mike and this helo guy came by looking for a pound of lead. Doug had some, so I drove him out to CosRay, brought back the Navy guy, and his pound of lead.

CosRay is a nice little place with a kitchen and a big lounge with lots of books and a good stereo. The back is chock-full of electronic gadgetry that makes a racket every two minutes. I though it was counting bosons. No such luck.

Read Plain Speaking up ‘til Harry S. was re-elected. Maybe I should be President. I need a good paying job.

Sam got some peanut butter cookies in the mail. Not bad for 12,000 mile cookies. Mom’s are better.

Dr. Treves, every time we get a foreign station on the radio, says it’s in Armenian (kind of like Clark and his Jewish music). Well, tonight we got the Something World Network in the East Indies broadcasting “the next hour in Armenian.” (Gees).

Monday, October 23, 2006

October 18, 1975: Saturday

Weighed all the stuff that goes onto the helo Tuesday. Pry bars, winch, tripod, food, etc. Spent the morning and afternoon finishing the Cape Armitage thin sections or reading Antarctic geology papers.

Bio-Mike and I went over to the Chalet to give Emmett an order. Dave hassled me about being in his office.

“I’m with him.”

“Do you have to come into my office to do it?”

I shrugged, looked at him peculiarly, and by that time Mike and I were gone. Mike told me not to worry about Dave. I don’t.

We walked over to the ET shop to fix a Vortex Genie test-tube stirrer. What a bunch of technicians. “Ah, let’s see this thing.” “Hmmm, touch the wires here.” Hissss. Short circuit and no lights. “Go fix the breaker.” “Where is it?” It took them twenty minutes to figure out the crankshaft needed oiling.

We think S*A*R*P will be a big hit, with all sorts of weird people, including our token Russian defective, reading Playboy, drinking Wild Turkey, and listening to golden oldies on his tape player.

Nartsiss asked Al to translate for him. But Al doesn’t understand me, either. I guess I don’t speak English.

Met Carl, a geology GFA from Montana. Short, dark haired, looks oriental, but who knows. He’s a good kid. But another graduate in a GFA position, while I’m a scientist. Doesn’t seem fair.

Doug gave me a tour of CosRay, along with Gary, a biomed GFA. He’s tall, blond, with a juttly jaw.

CosRay is a neat place with a good deal of complicated recording equipment clacking away every two minutes. Doug did a real good job of explaining things. I almost understood what was going on. It’s a real nice place out there. Doug and I could get along all right. He needs some more indoctrination into my type of insanity (which is the only way to remain sane).

We stopped by Sattrack and looked around. Doug convinced me he wasn’t a data gatherer, but I’m not so sure Sattrack is scientifically important. Met Bruce’s replacement, a Tex-an, with ah real ac-cent. Name ah Mike Haga’. Plays the ‘lectric geetar. A shy, southe’n look with long blond country boy locks.

I’m not sure about him yet. Bruce got a message saying he was relieved one morning and his relief arrived at noon.

Cincinnati won 6-2.

Found both of my other Bic black pens.

A plane today but no mail. Expected one from Joy. I’ll have to write to her, and Marilyn, and Ann (and Anne?).

I saw some kaersutite under the microscope. It’s a red amphibole that forms in the rocks here-abouts. Cal found a very good crystal of it over behind Sattrack. Also discovered what trachytic texture is, and why the rocks are called trachytes, not phonolites.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

October 19, 1975: Sunday

Slept ‘til 10:30, except at 8:00 I called 459. But nobody answered. Tiny Tim must not be having his show today. Went to breakfast-lunch, and the equipment was torn out of the studio.

I planned to go up to the lab and write letters and help load for Dr. Treves’s journey tomorrow, but I fell asleep until 3:30. I wonder if he’ll be mad about it. So instead of going up and finding out, I wrote letters.

I guess they didn’t do anything this afternoon. So after dinner we went up to the BFC to load this real long, narrow sled and the snowtrack. The weather is bad, blowing and snowing. Peter B. and I drove over to get some gas in the these two 15 gallon barrels. Peter insists they’re 12 gallon. But he’s Imperial.

Peter’s talk was on the drill sites. It looks, according to Cal and Emmett, who worked for oil companies, that there’s a better than even chance of hitting natural gas. We won’t admit it. There was a good crowd. Two girls, Jan and some Navy girl, in the front row. She was with a Navy-type guy. She looked like Mary Ann Wilson. But I think she had an ugly face. I couldn’t tell. I was in the balcony.

Dave was real nice to me. He wanted me to run the slide projector. Figures.

The old gentleman that looks like somebody’s grandpa, wears a white turtleneck sweater, and looks like Albert Einstein’s brother, is with the interior decorator the Navy hired. He sat next to Nartsiss and thanked everybody for being so kind to a foreigner.

Nartsiss wants me to get some of Peter’s and Dr. Treves’s publications run off. From Peter’s talk, it seemed that we were contributing greatly to scientific knowledge in Antarctica. I wished I’d known that earlier.

After the lecture we (Peter is part of we, now), with Dave and Mike Wing (a driller) went to the Officers’ Club. Dave and Peter bought. The movie was Fiddler on the Roof. I hope they show it again, because I thought of Andria when I saw it was playing. Besides, it’s a good movie to see, anyway.

I was informed that I will be going to the Antarctic Survival Seminar next Thursday. I don’t want to go, but I will. I’m not very adept at camping. They’ll send me home after the first night. I’ll go along, just to see if I weather out the hassle. I’ll go along, but I won’t put any effort into it. I’ll miss moving the camp to the drill site. If the weather stays bad, I’ll miss this seminar.

Sidebar: From Plain Speaking - (About MacArthur) He was just a man who couldn’t sleep easy at night without thinking up ways and means of getting himself and everybody else into trouble.

Friday, October 20, 2006

October 20, 1975: Monday

Had this absolutely ridiculous dream about something that seemed perfectly ridiculous at the time.

Cold, snowing, high winds. No traverse. Worked on thin sections of the 1A samples. Developed some more pictures of the iceberg drill site frame. Peter’s using one as the cover for the DVDP #6 Bulletin. It’s very difficult getting a perfect print down here. Made two large (12 by 16) prints. Gave one to Dr. Treves. The other goes to the lab. We marked the drill site on it.

Ran off some of Dr. Treves’s Antarctic Journal articles for Nartsiss and gave him reprints from Peter’s papers.

Bio-Mike determined that McMurdo Sound sea water was 3 counts above normal background radiation. He was going to recommend that the Sound should be drained, transported back to the States, and disposed of. But someone in Washington might do it.

Important revelation from Plain Speaking. C. Estes Kefauver was a Tennessee Senator, head of a Senate Organized Crime Investigation . He ran for president wearing a coonskin cap. He was nominated for Vice-President in 1956. Defeated by Eisenhower-Nixon. All right.

Mike has a tape of the Ohio St. - Michigan St. game. Gees. I’d swear it was a comedy tape. The first half-hour is all that pre-game junk. The sports writer for the Des Moines Register is picking the outstanding player. The winning athletic department gets a La-z-boy rocker. R-O-L-A-I-D-S. Relief. Sick.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

October 21, 1975: Tuesday

Up at about 2:00 am. The sun was either coming up or going down. Didn’t stay around to figure out which.

Roommate Steve took off for Cape Crozier.

Weather today was clear, windy, not too cold. Dr. Treves got off about ten o’clock, after giving me numerous instructions and incidentals to bring along. Mike Wing borrowed my jump suit.

Calvin, Don Murray (a driller), Howie, and Otis took off about eleven. Howie and Cal came back about 11:30. Never did figure out why. But by the time lunch was over, they were on their way across the ice.

That left me in charge. Sort of. I did two thin sections, listened to Dr. Treves’s radio and Cal’s tapes. I’m going to take the radio back to the room with me. Hope Dr. Treves doesn’t mind.

These things I’m in charge of:

A. Getting the New Zealand surveyor over here for a nine o’clock departure. And to make sure he only has one theodolite.

B. Jim the Kiwi and Terry and their survival gear.

C. A three hundred pound winch, plus tripod, wire meter, C rats, juice, chain saw, chain saw fuel, oil, and Nansen bottles.

D. Making sure three barrels of oil and a hurdy-gurdy are brought out when they pick us up from the drill site. Delegated that to Mike at the BFC, who delegated it to Pete.

E. Lining up transportation to get all our gear down to the helo pad and picked up on our return. Jack and Leon are responsible.

F. Deciding that sleeping bags are primary survival gear.

G. Showing the pilot how to get to the drill site.

Besides all that, I went over to the machine shop to get some slide holders. 590 is in the garage and 587 is a real bummer to drive. No emergency brakes. Glad there isn’t much traffic in McMurdo.

Dave pulled down a news bulletin right in front of my face while I was reading it in the Chalet.

At 6:15 p.m. I picked up the field party’s signal super well, but words were garbled. I couldn’t get Scott Base at all. I did get the impression that their “110 volt electric ice drill” was broken or something.

Called Scott Base. They confirmed it (much to my surprise), that I had to take one with me tomorrow. Dave said he put Pat Hagerty on the job of finding one.

Went over to the Bio-lab and read some history on Iowa and the U.S. Presidents. Nartsiss cut his own hair. I asked him to cut mine and he laughed. “It would give me great pleasure,” and he went to get his scissors. He showed me an ad for a pipe. I told him it was propaganda. He said my blue hat was one like Lenin wore.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

October 22, 1975: Wednesday

Kiwi’s are always slow. And never on time. Got everything rounded up and down to the pad about fifteen ‘til nine. The surveyor was already there. Orville got us a drill that I picked up from the Chalet. Then ran down to the pad.

I had the impression from Cal that helo people were snobbish. That’s not so. They were very, very friendly, and helpful, and used to novice passengers. Our pilot was Lieutenant Commander Gordon. He’s short, with a sometimes gray beard and a pug nose. The copilot seemed to be a new guy. A third crewman always rides with the helo. He’s stationed at the rear right cargo-passenger door. His name was Auskaps, with freckles and twinkling eyes. Before we took off, Gordon told the copilot what the ignition switch was for, without even laughing.

Auskaps takes a fire extinguisher, gets out, and makes sure everything is thumbs-up before lift off. It’s not. There’s not enough charge in the batteries. So we hook up to a little gadget, and pretty soon it’s thumbs-up.

Auskaps gets in, leaves the door open, and watches the landing gear during lift off. You have to wear a helmet, in case you hit the roof, and to protect your ears from the noise. I got to wear a headset, plugged into the roof with a little button you push to talk to the rest of the crew. I had to wear one, because I was the only person who knew where the drill site was.

I realize why they used to call them “gyrocoptors,” because before you get off the ground, you oscillate in 360 degrees while lurching up and down on the springs. Then you’re off, floating. It feels, like, so smooth and easy. And the ground rushes away from your window and the shadow of the helo flies against the ice.

We fly at a medium height. The tracks are separate and the flags visible. I thought how smooth the ride was until I took a picture. Jolt, jolt, jolt. I hope 1/1000 is enough to catch things.

The first thing you notice from the air is the line of open water, a lake of dark blue gray in the ice white sea. Then you notice the line of the shelf ice and across the horizon, the edge of the rubble that makes up the Dirty Ice.

The pilots are worried about the road, which leads close to the edge of the water. I inform them about ice thickness, who’s in the party we’re going to meet, etc.

Antarctica has been made worthwhile (again), listening to the experienced pilot tell the young copilot what to do with all the switches (and I mean it’s got a control panel that makes a truck driver’s dash look like a tinker toy), and finally let him take control. And I’m part of this conversation, electronically.

And there, in front of me, the Mountain Debrushka, like a beacon, white and gray against the soft blue sky.

We turn north and follow the tracks and flags and, at Butler Point, the fresh tracks depart from the old ones. Gordon gives the young pilot a geography lesson.

I spot the Navy flagging party, with Cal and Don, about two miles from 1A. They think that’s 1A, and I correct them, telling them to fly on further. We come in right over the top of the iceberg, it’s a monstrous thing, circle camp, and land.

Gordon tells the copilot what he did wrong during the landing. He didn’t bounce up and down to make sure the snow was hard.

They even helped us unload, took pictures of everything, and took off, measuring the height of the iceberg. It’s 300 feet high. Not sure how long.

Dr. Treves, Peter, and Mike were waiting for us, very happy and in a good humor. They had already dug a 3 feet by 3 feet hole halfway through the ice. They were glad to see the drill. Their drill had lost the nut and bit that held the drill rod on.

The ice was 195 cm thick. I got my picture taken taking notes for the surveyor. He looks a bit like Bio-Mike.

Cal, Howie, Don, and Otis show up and we have eleven people at the site. The SAR (Search and Rescue) vehicle is like a Winnebago motor home. They got hot sleeping in it last night. The reason they stopped just out of town was to tighten the track.

Cal and Peter took the pick-up (if it could get across, 590 should very easily) and put a network of flags around the camp to use as survey points when we do our depth chart of the area. The surveyor made his solar observations and made bearings on the icebergs, which are probably grounded. If the angle changes, we know the fast ice is moving.

We take turns in the hole with the chain saw (even me!), cutting the ice into blocks that we chip loose and throw out, gradually getting down to the water. Once a hole has been put through, the whole hole fills up rapidly. We tie a line around the person in the hole and chip away.

I act as a relay between Peter in the pick-up, Otis communicating with him, and the surveyor, who is siting the flags as they drive to them.

I talk to Otis. He’s a heavy equipment driver and it’s his second year on the ice. He’s not bothered by driving a Nodwell across the ice. He’s very interested about what we’re doing. While the chain saw was buzzing, he asked me how deep it was. I said 400 feet.

He asked, “How much rock are you going to dig a hole in after that?”

“1000 feet.”

“No way.” He turned around and headed for the truck.

“Well, not all of it today.”

Mike burned a hole in my jump suit from the chain saw exhaust. They used a little McCullough and didn’t even start the big one we brought along.

I was in the SAR when Terry hit water. He got about half the hole bottom out before he scrambled out. We lost both ice breaker bars into the deep, and the spout for a five gallon gas can.

The helo landed; we had a total of fifteen people gathered around the hole. They brought the mogas, two shovels, and a net. We cleared the hole of ice, using the tripod to break off the rest of what was in the bottom.

Dr. Treves wanted me to take lots of pictures. He even told me to go ahead while people were working. Then he talked to Gordon abut taking pictures of the camp from the air, with low-angle obliques of the iceberg, camp, and coast line.

So when we got back in the air, at 600 hundred feet, the pilot leaned the aircraft over, Auskaps opened the door, I leaned out and clicked away. Almost felt like a professional photographer.

Didn’t even think about the fact that I was leaning out of a helicopter 600 feet above the ground. It’s pictures I’ll probably never have a chance to take again.

The helo has a motion like a motion picture moving at slightly slow speed. A jerky, frame-by-frame motion across the window.

The other Navy guy is Joe Hendly. He has to go to Marble Point to check on the equipment there. The Outhouse is still standing, but the Wall to the Catabolic Winds has caved in considerably. The Jamesways are filled with snow, again, and the Navy people had to say “hello” to the Nurses at Marble Point. I picked up Sam’s red parka and white balaclava in the Wannigan.

On the way home, I get the pilot to let me get some shots of the camp, iceberg, and open water beyond, seals all over the place with splotches of blood on the snow and young pups following their mothers. I took well over fifty pictures in five hours.

On the way home we try to contact McMurdo. Can’t get them, so we call Christchurch, which relays the message. You can get McMurdo from the SAR vehicle on the ground. Yesterday they had to go through the South Pole to get a message to McMurdo. Strange.

We return and I run up to the Chalet to have them call our truck down. No luck. The administrative assistant helps, but one of the drillers beats us down to the pad in 587.

He and I take things up to the lab. I take the coat to Sam. He’s glad to see it, hugs it, and expresses his happiness.

I go eat, talk to Dave, who is sitting at the officer’s table. I sit next to the blonde-haired lady officer. I know who she reminds me of, Christie G. The dark-haired one looks like a Sullivan with a bit of Lindy Doty thrown in.

I can’t remember when I’ve been so tired and not realized it. I went to sleep at six, didn’t stir until nine, took a shower, wrote this, and retired. I’ll run the negatives tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

October 23, 1975: Thursday

Hasn’t been a terribly helpful day. Leon and I spilled developing fluid all over the counter. Dave insists I go on the survival course. Jim the Kiwi developed negatives last night. I was supposed to help him. My first roll was broken off after 24 shots. Lost my picture of the surveyor and one of Otis. The aerial roll didn’t have enough developer in it, so the edges are not good.

The surveyor’s gone to Vanda and nobody knows if he’s done our position.

Besides all that I cleaned up the lab a little. Cal’s on his way home. No perceptible current. “Zero or less.” Dave sat next to me at lunch and was very pleasant. Got everybody’s mail. I didn’t get any, though. Lot of stuff from Northern Illinois. I’m curious but dare not open it.

Boston won yesterday.

Developed pictures. Lot of good ones. The aerial shots are poor. Must be something about Antarctica. Cal got back. He saw me hanging out the door. They surveyor hadn’t figured out our position.

Went to the meeting about the Survival Class. Showed some pretty good slides from New Zealand. My partner is Noel, Henry’s friend. Henry’s not going because he’s sick.

I don’t like (really) people who are gung-ho outdoor, mountain climbing, expensive junk enthusiasts. Besides, I’m a natural disaster, anyway. It’ll be fun, not trying hard and just enjoying my incompetence.

The Kiwi instructors could have been Jesus Freaks if they’d been called to a different avocation.

Hope Dr. Treves, et al, get back tonight, so I can get my jump suit from Mike.

Forgot to mail Cal’s post cards from a couple days ago. They were pretty chewed up by the time I dropped them in the box.

My new roommate is Martin McGale, from the company that built the drill. He’s an older man, almost fat, smells like a grandfather. Snores a lot. And speaks with an accent. I thought it was Irish, but it must be Canadian, eh?

Monday, October 16, 2006

October 24, 1975: Friday

Decided I should eat breakfast, in case I have to cook lunch. Ate with Henry’s friends.

My field partner is Noel, from Maine. Short blond hair and beard. Pipe smoker. The other two guys remind me of Mooch Warden. I don’t know how both of them can, but I think the dark haired one is more of a Mark Hahn.

I really hate this sort of thing. I’ll survive when there’s a need to. But just going out to make oneself miserable is fruitless. Against all principles.

I worked sort of hard digging our snow shelter. Noel did about two thirds of the work, maybe 60 per cent. I worked most on the entrance tunnel and my sleeping bench. I suggested the menus and let Noel cook them. Pea soup with cheese for lunch and macaroni and cheese for dinner.

We went to the Ski Chalet, an A-frame (rough wood with benches and a Preway place), to talk about Antarctic first-aide. I always get squirmish at other people’s ailments.

Got back, crawled into the sleeping bag, and began thinking how cold it was. Started to read a very funny story in a SF anthology.

During the day I had thought of various ways to get out of this lunatic camp. I was going to twist my ankle, but didn’t get a chance. Next I was going to limp-fall at the Ski Chalet, but they would have mistaken it for Exposure. Then I thought about rolling off the ledge into the snow trench and getting hurt.

Then it occurred to me I had a fool proof plan. I could suddenly develop a pain in the male gonad. Perfect. I knew all the symptoms and everything. I could fake it. I’d had practice with the real thing. Beats being cold. So I got out of the snow shelter and quietly talked to Dave, one of the instructors. He looks like Bob Sailors (and you know who He looks like).

Dave took me back to Scott Base in Nodwell 42.

On the way back I began feeling very blue about telling the biggest, cheapest, most chicken-hearted lie in my life. Except, closer to the Base, I could feel a little twinge. And not of regret. Psychosomatic I always have been.

Fortunately Dr. Tim Flynn was at Scott Base. He’s the un-Navy Navy doctor, who operates on Al’s fish and started the rumor about there being only one set of crutches in McMurdo.

Anyway, he examined me and, lo and behold, I actually do have epiditimitis. A minor case.

The Lord moves in strange and mysterious ways. But I think my infection has been more or less permanent.

When the party at Scott Base broke up, an ear infection Kiwi gave us a ride home. I went into the dispensary. While the Doc looked for some medicine I filled out the Doctor’s report on my case.

I got prescribed some Indocin and a Jockstrap. And ordered to show up for sick call because Indocin can cause all sorts of strange and ludicrous side effects. (I should have written “kinky” side effects).

Sunday, October 15, 2006

October 25, 1975: Saturday

The doctor had another look at me. It’s very important that I wear a jock to prevent torque. The dispensary doesn’t have any and neither does the Ship’s Store. They don’t even have underwear small enough to do the job.

Went back to the Hotel to clean up my mess. Dr. Treves was on the phone. I told him what was wrong. He and Cal are going to the Dry Valleys today. It’s a lot of hassle explaining my condition to people. I think from now on I’ll just say, “Call me Uno.” It hurts worse than yesterday. But I still think it’s psychosomatic.

Went to the BFC. They didn’t have any jocks. Mike told me to go to special services and have the lady fit me, personally.

Dr. Treves wants another print of one of my Site 1A prints. Something about Emmett liking it. Went down to print them. I washed the negatives because they needed it, and left them to dry.

Never got back to them because Bio-Mike slept all afternoon. Dave and Emmett went to the South Pole. They were back for supper. I told him (Dave) why I was back. Dr. Treves got Dave to get me a jock from Christchurch.

There was a movie cameraman from the Air Force with Bio-Mike before lunch. He took a movie of Father Brady (an Australian micropaleontologist who came yesterday) doing things with a microscope and of Peter testing sound waves in a rock and using the Photo Micro Sizer.

When I gave him a tour, I did a lot of talking and explaining. Every once in a while I get into that kind of mood where I seem to be quite loquacious, instead of my usual stumbling inanities.

Bought a slightly damaged Deep Freeze T-shirt for $2.00, a set of glasses for $6.30, and two patches for $0.50, each.

Got to drive the trackmaster from the lab down to the garage. Went to pick up the helo party. I always get beat down there by someone else.

I wanted to find out about what a psychotherm meant and what an asymptotic hydralizer would do. We have a book entitled Composition of Scientific Words. I started reading the introduction. The author has a very keen sense of humor, like Masterton & Slowinski. I discovered that William the Conqueror made a list of all his helpers in the invasion. I’ll have to check into that. It’s something I’ve overlooked, out of ignorance. Haven’t finished reading the introduction, yet.

Erythrokephalos means Redhead in Greek, which we all know is true.

Survival in Antarctica. Hints: When traveling in parties of three it is wise to be the middle person. That way you never have to open or close a door.

They declared the Bio-lab’s coffee mess illegal, like ours because we don’t have official approval. So Bio-Mike and Dr. Flynn made up a Caffeine Extractor-Enricher-Etceterer. (A coffee pot made out of biological apparatus).

Pete Bunch caused an avalanche in the empty barrel pile by pulling out the bottom one.

Got a package of popcorn and cookies from Nancy. This is getting a bit ridiculous. Her letter wasn’t so bad this time. But I think it’s time for a little thinking. At least it shows my letters got home. Hope I get something from Joy or Cathy. I guess I’m sort of using a double standard. But a problem is a problem. I don’t like to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Addendum to the above: Unofficial class motto - Ignore it and it will go away.

Mike set up his real stereo system. Ahhhhh!

Dollars Out:
$2.00 T-shirt
$6.30 Glasses
$1.00 Patches

Saturday, October 14, 2006

October 26, 1975: Sunday

Cincinnati won. Oh, darn.

Spent all day in the Bio-lab.

We made improvements on the Intermittent Self-Regurgitating Positive-Pressure Caffeine Transporter Extractor and Partioner.

The model being used was the Mark IV.

The Mark V was an improvement by which hot water was circulated through a vacuum pump. Unfortunately the coffee pot lid wouldn’t seal properly and we suffered pressure loss.

The Mark VI uses an aquarium water pump to circulate the water. It runs through a condenser, and a blood gas analyzer before pouring through the coffee grounds. It has an attachment for a hot water dispenser and an attachment to put Brandy into the system.

And it works.

I contributed the Operating Instructions.

The whole thing is a joke, to see if it can get authorization as a coffee mess through all the proper channels.

The guy from Public Affairs came over to do a story on it.

Cost is 2495 dollars, installation and calibration not included. A dictionary of technical terms is being published along with an accessories catalog.

Every home in Taylor Valley Estates will be equipped with a Mark VI.

It can only be run by a licensed operator.

It’s a pleasure to sit back and marvel at this contraption, to show it off, and have people shake their heads in amazement.

Cal did some prints. Pretty good ones. I did some for Dr. Treves. Panoramic site shots.

Dr. Flynn found some jocks, so Dave didn’t have to call Christchurch and ask Margaret. It still hurts, occasionally. Sometimes I begin to think it’s real.

completely automated
Intermittent Self-regurgitating Positive-pressure Caffeine Transporter, Extractor
and Partioner


Note: This unit is self-priming and need not be primed before operation.
1. Engage spigot
2. Plug pumping unit into vertical wall socket.
3. Vertical wall socket should be placed in the “on” position and the interior light functioning.
4. Stopcock number one should flow from the upper left ventricle into the graduated water column.
5. Stopcock number two should flow from the graduated water column into the lower left receiving vesicle.
6. Stopcock number three should remain in the “closed” position.

1. While the Mark VI is brewing, the molar concentration of caffeine reaching the glass dispensing agency may be regulated by adjusting the height of the water in the graduated water column
2. To decrease the molar concentration by raising the water level, thereby increasing flow, close the number two stopcock until the desired water level is achieved.
3. To increase the molar concentration by lowering the water level, thereby decreasing flow, close the number one stopcock until the desired water level is achieved.

1. Depress the rubber tubing clamp to allow the brewed liquid to emerge from the glass dispensing agency.
2. Release the rubber tubing clamp when desired amount of brewed liquid has been received into an approved consumption receptacle.

1. For the procurement of tea, hot chocolate or miscellaneous instant beverages, follow the procedures outlined in BREWING with the following exceptions.
2. Stopcock number two should flow from the graduated water column to the lower right receiving vesicle.
3. Stopcock number three should be opened until the desired amount of hot water has been received into an approved consumption receptacle.

1. Sprits or other concentrated liquid extracts may be introduced into the Mark VI system.
2. Fill the graduated introduction cylinder to the desired level.
3. Turn the number one stopcock so that the flow is from the upper right ventricle to the graduated water column.
4. When the desired medium has been introduced into the system return the stopcock to its original position.

The Mark VI should be filled, primed and the caffeine filter apparatus supplied only by a qualified and licensed Mark VI Technician or Operator.

GD-4730-FM22-0031 MARK VI, MODEL A, ONE EACH NSF ÆÆO1-7873

Friday, October 13, 2006

October 27, 1975: Monday

Busy, busy day. Cold and very windy.

Got Henry loaded onto a helo.

The Japanese arrived. They’re very short and talk in unison, saying the same thing like two mouths working off one mind. Also, they went to the movies.

They moved into Cal and I’s office. We moved into Dr. Treves’s.

Peter Barrett wants me to do size analysis on the grab samples from 1A. He’s done a haphazard job on them. I don’t understand what he wants done, nor what he’s accomplished until late this evening. John Oliver has some of the samples. I have to make arrangements with him to dry the samples. The problem is the mud. He wants it wet so he can do a size analysis with our machine, but he also wants the weight percent of the whole.

The surveyor gave us some distances, in meters, that we were off from the proposed site. Dr. Treves told me to figure out the latitude and longitude. I fooled around with a derivation and the law of cosines for awhile, then looked up how many miles to a degree in the dictionary. A few transformations and I had feet and seconds. Then I figured it out using data in the Ops Plan. Finally I measured the miles in one degree on the large wall map. The last two agreed in latitude and differed by four seconds of arc in longitude: 77º 28’ 25” S and 164º 25’ 29” E, compared to the proposed 77º 27’ 40” S and 164º 26’ 02” E, and to my original estimate, 77º 25’ 17” S and 164º 33’ 20” E.

We’re 1200 meters south and 200 meters east of where we’re supposed to be. Not too shabby.

Peter has three people coming in on the 30th. One of them is a girl, Kathy Sillars (Kath, for short). They’re going to do a bathymetric survey between 1A and Marble Point and between 1A and New Harbour. Calvin and I go out to the drillsite the 5th. Jim the Kiwi and most of the crew are out there now. Max and another tractor train will start out Wednesday, a day late. Another official Navy photographer will go along for documentation purposes. I guess my job is finished.

Calvin put up a picture of the seal in our hole. It’s the official seal of DVDP. There’s also a picture of an abandoned farm house after a snow storm. It’s labeled as the Clubhouse at Taylor Valley Estates.

Ran a lot of errands today. Peter walked back from Scott Base. I met him at the Jet Fuel Tanks in 589 (590 is out at the drillsite). Dr. Treves and I went to the Navy photo lab, the BFC for water jugs, a banana boat sled, and food lists. The drillers wanted one dozen blanket warmers (6 blonde and 6 brunette).

Got a letter from Marilyn C. today. Hurrah. She anticipated almost everything I wrote her about last week. She gets a sweatshirt.

It’s 11:00 p.m. and the sun is just passing over Mount Discovery. I’m not going to wait around for the Midnight Sun.

Nebraska beat Colorado 63-21. All right!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

October 28, 1975: Tuesday

Mailed Marilyn’s letter and signed up for a phone patch.

Sitting in the dispensary is just like sitting in any other doctor’s office in the world. There’s a guy at the desk asking your name, complaint, and all sorts of things. Then you sit and wait.

A shy little sailor (lady) sat next to me. A Vicki Vollertson type (glasses and hair curled in the back and attached by a wooden peg). Nervous.

They gave me a very thin jock.

A large young lady calls your name and you go see the Doc. The lady has big everythings, walks like a gorilla, sort of, and would be very pretty if she didn’t have a Richard Nixon nose, skunk striped hair, and smiled more.

The Doc says I’m not so much infected anymore, but to stay on the medication.

I go back to the Hotel to try on my scrotal support. It’s a one-size-fits-all jobby with adjustable straps that are way too long, a place to store my you-know-what, and big hole to urinate through.

I spent the rest of the morning weighing all the grab samples on the Mettler balance in the Bio-lab, and looking through the Guest Register. Nobody’s heard of Julian Hart, except me. A “S. McCormick” of the Mutual Radio Network signed it in the early sixties.

Went to lunch. Dr. Treves said, “Follow me.” So we walked through the galley, climbed into the pick-up (it was full of stuff for a helo flight) and drove over to the Chalet. He said, “Go eat.” I walked back to the mess hall. Sometimes I get the feeling I’m going around in circles.

We were supposed to have tacos for lunch, but I didn’t see any. Ate with Nartsiss. He’s going to Dome Charlie as an expert on ice conditions there. I thought it was to send his government top secret photos.

Took the samples back up to the lab and figured out weight percentages. Still have to dry five mud samples.

Moved all the stuff out of the porch and one freezer over to the fish-hut on top of DVDP-3. Had the help of two GFAs. We unloaded the truck because the helo flight was canceled until tomorrow.

Weather just beautiful. Wore the ol’ State Champ jacket to dinner.

Washed some pots and pans and returned them to the BFC.

After supper I read the rest of the introduction to Composition of Scientific Words, plus part of the lexicon. Father Brady named a diatom after Dr. Treves, Corona trevesinus. With the help of the book, it means Treves’s crown.

Erebus was the Roman god of darkness.

Took the mud samples down to the Bio-lab and put them in the oven to dry.

Days Expenditures:
$3.50 Penguin Sweatshirt
$0.50 Post Card for Nancy

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

October 29, 1975: Wednesday

Another busy, beautiful day.

Dr. Treves took supplies out to 1A. Calvin and I loaded the truck and Cal went to listen at Mac Center for the 9:00 am scheduled radio check with 1A. I waited for the helo take off, picked up Cal, and went to fill 589 with gas.

Mailed the post card and a letter to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.

Cleaned out the porch and refrigerator. Rearranged things and started to rewind the wire wound around the nails on a box. What a hassle. Calvin gets sort of mad because it’s all screwed up. A real mess.

On the way back from lunch, I check the drying mud samples. The two little jars are done, but the big ones have a lot of water in them.

Found the book I was looking for. It converts degrees and minutes of latitude and longitude to meters at every degree of latitude.

Our official position: 77º 28’ 19” S and 164º 25’ 32” E.

Calvin, through his patience, found a way out of the sticky-wicket of tangled wire. It’s not been a good day for him. He’s very tired and I’m afraid I irritate him. I wish he’d yell at me.

We were coiling up the wire when Kathy arrived, with Mike Wing. Peter was over at Scott Base.

Kathy. Short, 5’ 5”, maybe. Short brown hair parted on the right, swept across her forehead, bounces with her head. Brown eyes. Lightly freckled on the checks. Big jaw, but not prominent.

A nice smile.

She looks like she could be Peter’s sister, not his student.

Oh, well. She’s female. The prettiest Kiwi bird I’ve seen. And most probably Peter’s. I hope that I can be her friend.

Wearing wool everything, sweater, shirt, pants, and socks, big clodhoppers with the socks rolled down over the tops, she reminds me of a 1930s English movie. Brave heroine of scientist hero, enduring hardships. Or maybe a school girl tomboy on one of those CBS Children’s Film Festivals that mom watches and I hated. I always hated the stereotyped boys in those shows. The girls were O.K.

I drove the Japanese over to Scott Base to make a phone call to Tokyo. Got Cal some Ross Dependency stamps.

Go back. Get the Japanese. Mail a letter for Howard. Forgot to bring my camera to take a picture of Mount Terror and Mount Terra Nova.

We play Musical Chairs with 589. And in the mean time, find out that Max’s core cutter doesn’t work so well. We’ll use it as a core holder and cut the core ourselves.

Kathy is rather intelligent, at least in understanding a problem. She hassled me about our light switches being backwards.

This will be a good test to see if I get paranoid about her, or if I get possessive or something.

Four, count ‘em, four letters in the mail. One from home. Kay’s senior picture, but not even a signature on it. One from Grandma. She didn’t even answer (or explain why not) any of the questions I asked her.

Joni got Homecoming Queen. Yeah! Van Erisman got King? I think the system is broken down. Have David’s address. He’ll never get around to writing back, but I’ll send him one with our cachets on it.

A letter from Deb. All right! Lot of explaining, careful wording, and hope in my letter to her.

And one from Joy. My season is complete. She wins the sunshine award.

Went to the lab. Calvin counting points. Dr. Treves took off to resupply the second tractor train, which left this morning exactly at nine. Deb gave me her phone number, but the ham operator hasn’t called me yet. It’ll be a tough decision. Talk to her (a number I know), or talk to Cathy (and a hassle getting through), or to Berzel, just for the hell of it.

Peter Bunch went to get empty DFA barrels. He pulled out the bottom one in the pile. The others came tumbling down behind him.

Worked on Grab Sample #7, photo micron sizing it, wrote this, and started getting things lined up for letters (pictures to whom, letter to the Housing Office, etc.).

I missed six on my football predictions.

Deb wants to know all about CosRay Doug.

Doug wants to know how we got our present music system and about non-European music scales.

Took a picture of the midnight sun, setting over Black Island, due south.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

October 30, 1975: Thursday

Today was totally null. I hardly remember what went on. We took all the trash off the porch and put it in the Bio-lab dumpster. But that was in the afternoon.

Oh. I did the statistics for the photo micron sizer. Made up a bunch of bar graphs. Looks O.K. But Peter will have to tell me if I did it right.

Mac Center called us to meet a helo from 1A with rare biological specimens. It was two bag loads of trash. Stupid helo pilots.

Took the Japanese over to Scott Base again. Took pictures of Mount Terror and the pressure ridges. 587 is almost gone. Needs to be fixed.

Got two books at the library, Penmarric, the one that Marilyn read, and Cosell by Cosell.

Took me four hours to write a letter to Deb. Pretty spacey job with all the interruptions. Cal took me to Mac Center for Henry’s radio sched, so I’ll know what to do. This was in the single sideband room. Mac Center is an office with a guy sitting behind a desk. Reminds me of the Wizard of Oz for some reason.

Didn’t feel like writing to Joy. That needs thought. Sat around Mike’s room telling stories.

Bio-Mike and Janelle had a misunderstanding. I’m sure I’ll get the full story later. I guess I’m going on the helo tomorrow to help Cal with the surveying.

Monday, October 09, 2006

October 31, 1975: Friday. Joy’s Birthday

Loaded up twelve hundred pounds of food for 1A, after seeing Dr. Treves off at 9:00 a.m. I got to go over to the sideband room and make a radio sched with 066 (at 1A). The bloody Kiwi can’t speak English and I couldn’t get that he didn’t want a wash kettle for shipping wood. He wanted a wood chisel for chipping wood. Oh, well.

Saw a skua today, the only flying bird indigenous to McMurdo. They’re kind of big, like hawks, but with white streaks on the wings. They dive on garbage, etc., but it’s very nice to see something soaring here and at 1A.

Went to 1A to do the ice survey. Calvin levels the level and I stand over by the flag with a Philadelphia rod (a two-yard stick) raising it and lowering it until the mark is level. Then I read the difference from our previous mark. The ice near the drill rig has sunk almost an inch and three-fourths since the surveyor leveled the flags last week. Over 100 tons of equipment and two D-8 bulldozers (57 tons, each).

Dr. Treves is very unhappy about the ice and wants us to go out tomorrow to check the flags again, to see if we’re on the rotten end of the ice deflection.

See, we have this computer printout of ice deflection vs. time, which tells us when to get off the ice. The problem is that there are no units. “That’s O.K. It’s just theoretical, anyway.”

590 had its power steering unit sheered off, so Kath and Peter were pulling a sled all over the countryside. The camp really looks good. The helicopter uses the Hockey Arena for a landing pad. I gave Gene Valentine (the Public Affairs officer) the hockey score, 14-7, Drillers over the Biologists. I told him to put it in the McMurdo Sometimes.

Wrote to Joy. Weighed more food. Went to bed.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

November 1, 1975: Saturday

Our flight out to 1A has been advanced from 1330 to 0900. We load up the remaining food, get Max and another new driller, and load everything up. We take Gentle II (code for “helo”), piloted by Billy Blackwelder, Crown Prince of the helo crew comics.

I get to listen on the headphones on the way out and talk to them about the ice survey and the drill camp. The rear crewman is a New Zealand sergeant. The language is a bit less formal than when Lieutenant Commander Gordon flew.

We do the survey with a centimeter scale, which is easier to hold than the two-yard rod. The ice has gone up a quarter of an inch since the D-8s left. We hop it’s true, and not observational error. We set out a new control flag, twice as far from the drill rig.

Kathy and I measured the distances between all the flags and the rig. I started out awkward with her today. So when I bumbled along in the wind, falling over cracks and losing the tape, I over did it, a little, and laughed at myself a lot. She took pictures of Calvin doing the leveling, for me.

The drill rig has a New Zealand flag flying from the top.

Everything has Antarctic Oil Exploration Co. stenciled on it, including the flag that Lloyd the Cook raises every morning at 5:00 a.m. There’s another one under the New Zealand flag. They’re Kiwi yellow, of course. They make a joke about the Navy and labeled everything like “Pot, Ice Melting, Type II, one each.”

The Mess Jamesway is a very comfortable place. An entry way with coat hooks and everyone’s name (or nickname) above, and a place to wash up, leads into the main room (sometimes called the DVDP Club), with two tables on either side, next to the curved walls, and assorted messes on the tables.

Lloyd stands in the back, behind the counter, in his T-shirt, black mustache, hair sticking out from his chest, slicing potatoes or kneading bread, listening to Santana’s Greatest Hits.

Peter, Kathy, and I went to gather ice, to make into water. Kathy insisted that three ride in the front. In Nebraska, two in the front and one in the back is not nice, but I’ve not bothered about that sort of hierarchy down here. But the insistence was relatively strong. It may have been so she could be close to Peter.

Why do I think such things? It’s certainly not because they are important.

To gather ice, you take these big plastic buckets and place them under ice chunks that have fallen from the iceberg and chip away at the chunk with an ice axe so that the pieces fall into the bucket. When you get the bucket full, it is very heavy, so you slide it down the path made by a previous ice hunter, and load it into the back of 590.

Oh, 590 is fixed, now. We brought out the spare part. But the trouble is, it was for the wrong side of the steering mechanism. Now, to turn the truck right, you turn the wheel left, and vice whatever.

It’s very difficult to back up. In fact, it screws up your whole sense of reality, to go the opposite way you turn the wheel. It’ll be awful fun when 590 gets back to McMurdo.

Jim fixed it by putting arrows on the dash:
Right Left

Peter wants us to bring out a motor toboggan to go places the truck can’t.

When we get home, Dr. Treves tells us that Emmett has O.K.’d it, and we’ll go to ski-doo school after dinner.

Dave already thinks we have too much stuff out at 1A, and we keep bringing more and more. Emmett was out there when they were showing movies. Quig (a driller) wangled a movie projector and four movies out of Special Services. It was Son of Blob, and they made Emmett run the machine, but it kept jumping out of the frame, so he brought it back to be fixed.

They’re making a sign post to put outside, showing the way to various points of interest: McMurdo, Marble Point, Hockey Field, Christchurch, Nebraska, and Crows Nest, Australia (for Howard).

Speaking of the devil, Howard has been cussing like a driller and half of them didn’t know he was a priest.

We have to get into the helo with its rotors whirling, heads down, running with our bodies forward, carrying orange survival bags, like some evacuation or rescue mission.

We’re going back out tomorrow to do another ice survey, deliver the ski-doo and teach Peter how to operate and maintain them. It’s sort of like a riding lawnmower, only simpler. I even think I could fix one. (Berzel will laugh at that statement).

We practiced driving them on the snow hills behind the USARP storage pad, next to the Garage, Sattrack and the Scott Base Road on the other side. The snow hills are over a 45º slope.

It takes a fair amount of nerve to come charging down one hill and attack the next, and larger, hill at some oblique angle, which seems almost insanely dangerous. But it’s not, because you survive, schussing up over the top of the drift, like on “Rat Patrol.”

It was very scary the first few times up and down, finding out when to gun the throttle, etc. It’s very hard to turn ski-doos, a lot of leaning and controlled fish-tailing around a corner. You can’t sit down because I bailed out twice for fear of tipping. They’re very easy to start, hard to kill, but very difficult to shift from forward to reverse.

We’ll do all right. Finished that, made plans for tomorrow, wrote this, listened to Derek and the Dominoes, and drank apple juice. Went down to the Officers’ Club and had a general geologic discussion with Mike Rieff and the RISP guy (who either comes from or likes Nebraska).

Saturday, October 07, 2006

November 2, 1975: Sunday

Slept ‘til 10:00 a.m. Thought about developing negatives, but Bio-Mike never got around to going over and unlocking the dark room.

So Mike Rieff and I went over to brunch. The hockey score was in the McMurdo Sometimes. We loaded the ski-doo onto a trailer and Rod drove it down to the helo pad. Rod is in charge of ski-doos. I get the impression that he’s an intelligent Peter Bunch, the way he tells everybody to do things, whether he knows about them or not.

Anyway, they didn’t know whether to swing the ski-doo underneath 18 or put her inside. They tried to put her inside. Wouldn’t fit. And Rod didn’t want to take the ski and bumper off to get it inside. But the cargo hook wouldn’t manually detach, but would electrically. But they couldn’t go with only one system working. So we moved over to 14 and started taking the ski-doo apart. But 14 was out of order. So they got 18’s cargo hook to work. But we had dismantled the ski-doo. We hefted her aboard and took off.

“Musical helos,” the ground crewman said.

Saw an airplane land at Willy Field. Didn’t bring me any mail, though.

Out a 1A, we did the ice survey. Slight changes from yesterday. Rod showed Peter and Kathy what to do on a ski-doo.

Li’l Steve had the Welcome to DVDP Site 1A, Antarctic Oil Exploration Co. sign up by the Hockey Arena and the sign post almost ready. I have to go to the Ship’s Store for Jim Gupwell and Max. Kathy gave me two dollars to give to the Scott Base Postmaster for future postage.

We return, miss dinner, and eat pastrami up in the lab.

Jack and Martin go out tomorrow. They start putting down casing tonight, or tomorrow. Cal goes out Tuesday to replace Howard and Kathy. The Japanese go out then, too, but one will return. I replace Peter when we get the first core.

Peter wants Kathy to stay out there and come home when he does, so they can collect rock samples from an iceberg near Marble Point.

Dr. Treves doesn’t think that’s a good idea.

Neither do I.

After Dr. Treves, Jack, and Martin (and the Navy) gave the lecture at the Chalet (on drilling logistics), we got Bio-Mike to help us saw thirty 2’ x 6’ x 7’ boards to take to the site.

Pat the GFA, who was up reading some text books, helped Dr. Treves gather the wood. We got the wood from the Navy. We’ll tell them tomorrow it’s gone.

Anyway, when it was done, we had sort of a party with pastrami and two bottles of wine.

Friday, October 06, 2006

November 3, 1975: Monday

Pat the GFA talks about Oregon, Walph’s Wabbit Wanch where they waise wittle white wabbits.

Loaded the lumber onto the truck and went down to get Martin and Jack H., while Dr. Treves and Cal went to get some pastry for the drill site. They ran out of gas in front of the mess hall.

After the helo went up, Cal went to Mac Center to talk to 590 while I went to fill up 589. Then it was errand time. Took Mike’s saw back, and Martin’s key to Bresnehan.

Dave gave me a hassle about getting the Japanese equipment and not taking them over to Scott Base on my mail trip. And he wanted to know if the Chalet could have 589 now that we’d all be out at the site.

I felt like telling him I wasn’t being paid to make decisions. But I didn’t. I just stalled, by saying we needed it today. Dr. Treves will be back to argue with him.

Took all the mail over to Scott Base, picked up ours, and gave the Postmaster Kathy’s money. I traded Cal two Kiwi dollars for her two U.S. dollars.

The Japanese and Wally from the Warehouse and I went to look for crates. Theirs hadn’t arrived. Dave had called and said that there were three over there, so Cal told me to take the Japanese. But the three were ones that had already been sent over here. We picked up a crate for Peter.

The Japanese went to talk to Hamish (O.I.C.), while I loaded the crate. I tried to catch them to see what they were talking about. I guess I’m supposed to keep an eye on them.

The guy in the Post Office was extra friendly today. He looks like Lisa, which is the last thing I need to think about.

Cal’s getting everything lined up to take to the drill site.

Mailed the letters to Home, Deb, and Joy, finally. Left the one to Deb in the Bio-lab and went all over town looking for it before I figured out where I’d lost it.

Helped make thin sections in the afternoon. Got four down to the final stage. Polished the wrong side of the first one. Oops. Now it’s frosted on two sides.

Dr. Treves got back. Henry’s back from Wright Valley, too. Hamish called and the Japanese cargo is at Hill Cargo. They’ll deliver it. We weigh things and collect items: two Jamesway units, a coffee urn, more food (125 pounds in one box), and gas chromatograph equipment.

Cal goes tomorrow. Only Howard is coming back.

Kathy will stay until Friday, when I go out. She and Peter will then return.

I am disappointed.

Sidebar: She’s a senior in college, doing her Honor’s Problem, taking her Final Exam today at 1A.

Sometimes I get a feeling like everything is going to work out for my comfort and well being. Things like Cal going out and Kathy coming back for a few days for us to become friends. But now things change, and I sometimes feel it signals the unhinging of my dreams, hopes, or happiness. I do not like to be unsettled in my mind.

I must gird my loins and press on, doing right, not letting other little things bother me until I can convince myself that this is not a terrible circumstance.

But then, when the only face without a beard in four months happens along, it’s a shame I can’t take three days to try to make her smile.

No more on such thoughts, too busy.

I took the Japanese out to the Jet Fuel Tanks. They put one of their seismograph sensing units on the side of Observation Hill. They strung wire all the way back to the lab.

The Japanese will go out Wednesday. The little one will come back. Nakai will teach Cal and I how to run the gas chromatograph. Howie and Nartsiss are coming out Saturday. Yeah!

Dr. Nakai gave me an autographed copy of one of his papers on isotopes in Lake Vanda.

We finished a couple of thin sections. Dr. Treves is very pleased because the grab samples are similar to what has been collected from the Stranded Moraines.

There’s been a magnetic storm lately and no patches home.

The call will be to Cathy.

An Interlude.
The following was written by Sam:
Movie Idea - in Antarctica, called “A Year in Antarctica”

A photographic or ultra slow motion movie sequence.

Each Picture taken from a window at 20 minute intervals. Getting several adjoining panoramic views would be nice. Of course, the snow would not be allowed to accumulate on the window.

The Slow Motion Epic of Antarctica, three pictures taken every hour, would amount to 27,280 photographs per view (3 views, 81,840 photographs), which amounts to 228 rolls of film, which would have to be changed every 720 minutes, or every twelve hours.

At the retail price of $5.95 (color, with mailer) it would cost you $1356.60 for pictures (processing included). And three Yashika’s at $90, each. Or $1446.00, total. (Back-up cameras extra.)

As a GFA, you make $160.00 per week, before taxes. So your take home is around $107.00, or $428.00 per month. You need $15 per week for incidentals. So you now have $372. At this rate of re-investment upon your original costs, it would take you three months and five days of hard work to pay for this project.

Are you willing to gamble all this for:

1.) Producing another box office flop and losing even more money; or
2.) Having someone at Kodak accidentally ruin your picturesque work?
3.) Is it worth the Gamble?

If not -
Put your Camera Down, you *#!?& GFA. Grab a shovel. Get your rear in gear. And I’ll tell you when lunch is!!!!!!
The Boss

Developed negatives. Dr. Treves’s got bound up in the tank and didn’t get any developer to two frames. Mine are all right except for some edges. I never have liked the reel developing and wish Bio-Mike had some big tanks I could use. The picture of Peter and Kathy manhauling is O.K. I had been worried that they were moving out of the frame.

Pat was up in the lab again. One of the VXE-6 crewmen came up. We gave him the royal tour of the place.

Bio-Mike gave us two filing cabinets. I don’t know what we’ll do with them. We have empty drawers in the ones we have. Except Dr. Treves’s office is stacks of piles of papers, each one very well ordered, but most carefully scattered across the room.

Today: 6¢ for stamps.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

November 4, 1975: Tuesday

Talk about busy.

Loaded Dr. Treves and Cal onto the Helo, with all sorts of supplies. Left me in charge. I told Mike Rieff what Jamesway sections we need and O.K.’d the idea to use our refers for ice samples and core. I confirmed these important decisions when Dr. Treves got back.

Moved all the wooden crates down from the lab to the driveway.

Went shopping for the drillers and weighed all the stuff that goes out at 13:30.

The afternoon was spent getting supplies for the drill site. Took Katsu, the little Japanese, over to Scott Base to call Tokyo. He delivered and picked up mail.

Gave CosRay Doug a ride out. Took his picture counting bosons.

We unpacked the microscopes that had arrived. It was like Christmas, with wrappings all over the place and Howard all exited putting things together. Howard came back today.

They accomplished a few things out there, like flag a route to New Harbour and discover that 1A is at the summit of a sub-ocean topographic hill.

Things are going very well out there.

Saw a C-141 land. It brought me lots of Newspapers, a letter from Mom, a can full of peanut butter cookie crumbs, and another letter from Joy. (Hurrah!)

After dinner I followed Dr. Treves around on errands. At Mac Center we discovered that coring might start tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.

Three days early.

That causes all sorts of scheduling problems. We shift flights around. Henry isn’t prepared to go out. The Japanese will go tomorrow with Dr. Treves. I get left behind.

Someone has to mind the store, I guess.

We looked for two big bottles of acetylene and propane for Leon. Couldn’t find the propane. Took the acetylene and left word with Pat that we did it. Mike will try to find us some propane tomorrow.

Another Herc went down at Dome C.

I don’t know exactly where Dome C is. It’s out there somewhere, at a place where the ice cap spreads out. There were two wrecked Hercs out there before, and this year was devoted to repairing them. Now they’ve lost another one, which means most summer field parties that need Herc support are in limbo.

Besides, it leaves McMurdo with only two Hercs for emergency evacuation.

The ice core they moved into the lab was from last year’s crash. It belongs to the French. Nartsiss brought it back. The plane he took out got there and back safely.

Bought Kay a Charm Bracelet Penguin:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

November 5, 1975: Wednesday

John Oliver Rule today.

John Oliver is the diver who runs all over the place instead of walking (Dave Bresnehan rule).

Loaded the truck for a helo flight. Dr. Treves went to talk with 590. They didn’t come up, so he went to get fresh vegetables. Mac Center called and 590 was on. I ran down there and talked to Leon. They needed a big blue iron frame with a bulge in it, from the fish house at the lab.

Dr. Treves got on the system at the Chalet and I ran over to meet him. We found the blue doovery and drove to the helo pad, stopping on the way to heave on board four small white bottles of propane.

Had a list of things to do.

Got them all done. Hurrah.

Cleaned the lab (except the porch).

Delivered things to the BFC, Bio-Lab, and Garage.

Put things in cages (boxes and camping gear).

Got gas.

Found out the tablets they were putting in the dish water rinse at 1A were unnecessary. This from Doc Flynn.

Cleared a space for Jerry Duncan (some miscellaneous DVDP grant) in the fish hut with DVDP #3 so he can do thermographs of it.

Then things began to happen. Dave called, said there was an emergency at the site and the helo would be in for spare drilling parts. Then he called and sit it wouldn’t be in. Then Mac Center called and said they’d land in five minutes. But I could plainly see when I was on the phone, that they had already landed.

This is the trouble. The tides are very mysteriously fluctuating and the foot peddle clamp, used to hold the drill casing in place, got wet. The casing slipped through and they thought they’d lost the whole thing. But fortunately, when they undid the cover, they found it had only slipped a couple of feet. Now they’re checking damage.

The helo crew must have been very patient out there, with a change of mind every five minutes.

Captain Van Reeth went into the enlisted men’s mess today (like a coach and a football team) to give them a talk to keep the rumor factor about the Hercs quiet. It was very sort of impressive, with a guy taping his speech to play over the radio, and a tense atmosphere, reporters flashing bulbs. Except there weren’t any reporters.

Darv delivered some sodium cobalt (IV) hexanitrate to stain feldspars.

Bob Thomas came for a visit. He’s a RISP person. He gave me a glass of Port while I collected the mail last night.

The Kiwi’s wanted to trade some beef for mutton.

Hamish delivered mail.

Some driller has been wrapping up cans of food. Dr. Treves unwraps them when he gets back and puts them up on the shelf.

Sidebar: News from Home -
Darryl Weldon died in a motor cycle accident.
Weather is normal; abnormal.
Saved Berzel’s engagement announcement. It said they were a couple. Now they can play bridge.
Margaret Stuart “heard the word” on KFAB and won $11.
Steve Milam got married to some pretty Falls City broad.
Some Senator from Ralston stuck his foot in his mouth about removing Peru State from Peru.

In the spare moments, I listened to the music and read the paper.

Got a letter from Ann today. She’s a good ol’ letter writer. I hadn’t thought she’d write, but if she did I knew it’d be good.

Her sense of humor comes through, which is a hard thing to do.

Why do girls always tell me when they’re not dating, but don’t mention anything when they do?

She says Gary C. has a girlfriend. I think I’ll turn in my hormones.

Bio-Mike has to look up all the FSN numbers to order parts on the chits for the garage. They figure that every time they run across a Lockheed number, they’ll order it. Sooner or later they’ll get lucky and a new Herc will be sent down. Or at least enough parts to build one in the garage.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

November 6, 1975: Thursday

A very quiet day, comparatively speaking.

Went down to the Helo Pad to load Jamesway arches. Darv drove up with another set. We loaded his onto the helo. Got back up to the lab and Leon says they need both arches. We fly back down to the pad and load the extra.

Got stuff for tomorrow. Six hundred pounds of food. I almost had an argument with Pat the GFA on how to get things out to 1A and what to send out. He thinks he knows best. I know I don’t know best, but I know I’m right.

Sometimes I get in a raunchy mood, feel like I could punch out the first lights that cross me. I must be tired.

Bought two penguins and another sweatshirt. I must have some sort of fetish, dressing all my 1128 S. 16th summertime friends in identical Penguin T-shirts. Cath and Debrushka get the Penguins.

Sitting in the pick-up waiting for the helo to rise, bein’ very mellow.

There’s a guy, an oriental, came down to watch the helicopters take off. A lonely fellow with short black hair and thick black glasses. He stands and watches with interest (and delight) the hovering craft, in his dark blue coat (blue, an unusual color for an overcoat), his arms limp at his side, shoulder against the whirling blast of air and gravel.

And I am reminded of thirty-year-old kids with simple minds and lonely lives, coming down every morning to watch (with interest and delight) the helicopters land and leave.

And after many days of lonesome, silent watching, a grounded crewman gives the thirty-year-old kid a helmet (like the ones they wear in the helo!) to protect his ears from the noise.

And he is happy. And the world really isn’t such a bad place, is it?

They guy showed up at the lab this afternoon. I gave him a tour and he offered to help us. We let him read in the library.

Mac Center still seems a little bit like the Wizard of Oz, big, tall panels with voices coming out of them, timid little men sitting behind the desk, pushing switches and running the entire Continent.

Dr. Treves (who lost the gloves Mike had given him after only a half hour, and found them again) left his new gloves at the 09:00 sched and picked them up at the 18:00 sched. He’s getting pretty good at answering the other traffic while talking to 590. “Roger, shuttlebus.”

Developed pictures tonight. Mine and Dr. Treves’s. Pretty good results.

Everything is working for me, the night before I go out to 1A.

Got my phone patch, at the Bio-Lab, to Cathy. An interminable delay while the operator looks up her number, and explains the phone patch.

Cathy has tonsillitis. The world is once more sweet and lovely because my usual luck has not left me. My mind is at ease because life falls neatly into comfortable places. I’ve always been nervous when talking to her. And now it’s over 12,000 miles. And she has tonsillitis. I told her not to get sick while I was gone. Told her I’d send her a Get Well Card.

And she said, “Where are you going to get a Get Well Card in the middle of Antarctica?”

Even though the words, at times, were lost, it was her voice. Two-thirty in the morning, tonsillitis, and everything I’ve ever desired.

I gathered that she was going to Auburn on Sunday to get Toodles. I guess she’s going to some fraternity function with Myron.

That doesn’t even bother me. For Myron is my friend, and Cathy told me about it, and it’s all in the family.

The call was short and nothing important transpired. But the purpose was to show Cathy that I care (even though that didn’t come across so well) and give her something to remember. My life is now complete. All else is frosting.

In the picture of Kathy and Peter pulling the sled, Kathy looks like Cathy.

Total Today:
$10.75 for Souvenirs

Monday, October 02, 2006

November 7, 1975: Friday

Got things loaded for the 1A trip. Weather isn’t looking too good. Mac Center Forecasting says snow by noon.

Helo pilot Rich Sluys calls and says we can go at 10:45. Hustle, hustle. Round everything up. Henry’s not ready to go. That means we load on 250 more pounds and can’t go to Scott Base.

Besides, Mike sent up two cooks (Siple and RISP) who aren’t going anywhere because of the Hercs, and they needed work to do. So we had to give them instructions on cleaning the porch and moving cardboard boxes to the USARP storage pad.

Then Sluys calls back. The weather looks better and we go at 13:00. Rich Sluys is a blond, blue twinkle-eyed pilot. Perfect helo pilot, a real joker, looking forward to bringing Kathy home.

My body fell asleep on the torturous flight, piled up among a spare tire and food boxes.

Got out and unloaded. I drove 590 over. That was a real disaster, thinking the wrong way.

Henry and I are in the Scott Tent that Kathy used. Cal was a little sour. I sort of hope he was that way all week. Kathy was very friendly, the first to break long silences in the Mess Jamesway while Peter and Cal talked. I had been afraid that she wouldn’t remember me after a week of Cal, etc.

We set up new ice deflection flags. Henry and Cal and I went to take a bottom sample from a seal hole three kilometers from 1A. Cal drove. But I backed up to the seal hole without any trouble.

The weather is starting to come back. Leon says this is the longest streak of good weather he’s seen in Antarctica.

I wore the ol’ State Champ jacket out on the ice. Probably the only one ever worn on the ice. Probably the only person vain enough to do it.

Started reading Cosell. I like it. His view of how honest he is about all the controversy he’s been in. Anyway he recalls all those Olympic events I remember so well.

I’ve been in the drill rig once. I don’t understand anything. Just machines turning driveshafts and Mike twisting lengths of pipe with a monkey wrench. It’s rather impressive.

Max twisted his ankle playing hockey.

He give’s Max’s Misguided Tours.

The signpost is up. Nebraska is that-a-way.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

November 8, 1975: Saturday

Slept ‘til nine a.m. At the rig, they had ten feet of fine to coarse sand, gotten up by a sampler devised by Jim Gupwell.

It’s not really core. And Cal decides what to do with it. Describe it and put it in a box.

Dr. Treves, Doug Howie, and Nartsiss come out. At one time we had a Canuck, a Jap, a Commie, nineteen Kiwi’s, and four Damn Yankees. Too bad that Aussie Priest wasn’t around.

Nartsiss runs off to look at things. The rest of us set up ice thickness rods. The ice is exactly two meters. We’ll read them every day.

Nakai teaches me how to operate the gas chromatograph and how to interpret the results. I even run a couple of air samples through and do calculations (very rough estimates): 20% O2, 70% N2 and 23.2% O2, 76.8% N2. We discuss problems.

I still don’t know how to go about getting water samples to put in. He’ll show me tomorrow.

The gas chromatograph is much simpler than the photo micron sizer. Maybe it’s because I understand the principle behind it much better. Different gases diffuse through helium at different rates. When a concentration of gas reaches the detector, it activates the recorder. Whether there are larger or smaller amounts of gas are determined by the amount of current passed during detection, and thus the area under the curve on the graph. I’m not much on electronics. So this explanation is genuinely worthless.

Sidebar: The pressurized gas bottles are written in Japanese, of course. It says, “herium.”

It’s very cold and windy today, cluggy in the North. Storm warnings from Mac Center Weather predict a 6:00 a.m. arrival.

I go in the drill shack to take pictures of them bringing up pipe. I wish Cal and I can agree on a schedule or at least get some core, so that I don’t feel so guilty about doing nothing. I am confused about what I’m supposed to do.

Howard C. is not an especially good writer. But he remembers things that are emotional to my heart.

He has a jaundiced view of baseball.

He speaks better than he writes, let’s say.

About eleven o’clock we get another sample from Gupwell’s device. It’s from 420 feet, 16 feet below the surface. Coarse sand with large basalt pebbles. I help Cal record this. Perhaps I’ll eventually get the hang of these things.

Martin tells me the obscene version of Dangerous Dan McGrew and the Lady Known as Lou.