Sunday, December 21, 2008

End of an Era

Temperature: -26.7C
Wind Chill: -38.9C
Wind Speed: 10.8 kts

This past Saturday, we had to say goodbye to a gentleman that has been coming down to the ice for the past 40 years! Jerry Marty is the NSF (National Science Foundation) representative down here, and he has been instrumental in getting the new elevated station off the ground, as well as figuring out things like capacity requirements for the old housing facility, the Dome. He has definitely seen a lot of changes and it is a shame to see him go. I stopped by the party they had for him the night before, which was really cool. He signed one of the sensors that the Icecube project will lower down into one of the many holes they have drilled into the about writing yourself into history!! One of the workers here also went down to the shop and designed a cribbage board for Jerry and his wife (just a little nostalgia there, since Jerry and his wife would have nightly games with their friends when they both wintered over many years ago!) I didn't get to spend a lot of time talking to him, but he would usually bring the DV (Distinguished Visitors) by ARO for a quick tour of the facility. Naturally, I had to blink when the picture was taken...wonder if he will come back just for another photo op?

A lot of people showed up to send Jerry off in style. A group of construction workers made a column on either side of him and Jerry walked through crossed tape measures out to the plane. The crowd was impressive considering there were only eight people on the plane!

We also said goodbye to another friend of ours, Brooke, who previously worked in the Boulder office with her husband, and is now finishing an advanced degree in Canada. She came down to Pole for a week to help us set up a second Dobson instrument. The one that we were using before has been down here for four years and is ready to be sent back to Boulder for recalibration. The week flew by, and before any of us knew it, Brooke was on her way back to McMurdo. Today, she is heading back to Christchurch to meet up with her husband for Christmas!

Three other folks that were on that same flight with Jerry and Brooke also made a stop out to ARO this past Saturday.

Ron, Mary and Lisa came out about an hour before their plane landed, and did a quick interview with Cully and I. They said that it might take a week for the webcast to be posted, but gave us a link to check it out once it was posted. That link is:

I think I saw a couple thousand people on the other side of that camera lens, but overall, I think their time with us went well! :)
Unless you all beat me to it, I will try to let you know when the webcast can be viewed!

Our meteorological tower got extended by about ten meters last week, so it is now up to its intended height of 30 meters. Unfortunately, the extensions came in silver instead of the alternating white-orange that would have made the tower look like one complete structure!

Once a week, and especially in the winter time, Cully and I are going to have to climb the tower to check all the instruments, make sure they are working, fans are still operating, nothings stuck, things like that. I'm a big fan of heights (sarcasm at its best!), and was not happy when the tower was only 20 meters, but I'm planning on coming to terms with my fears. Cully is patient! I did manage to snap a couple pictures while the fingers were still working...

These other pics are from a few days ago as well. A twin otter plane took off normally, and then decided it would be a good idea to swing the plane around and fly right into the Clean Air Sector. He buzzed Cully and had just flown past ARO when Cully called me on the radio and told me to snap a few shots of it. These pictures got sent to our science support team, and I'm thinking that the pilot hasn't heard the end of it yet!

Hope everybody is well, and that you have safe and Happy Holidays!!!! In a day or two, there will be pictures of SnowHenge...

Capt. Splash

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