Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Love My Job

Temperature: -39.9C
Wind Chill: -53.1C
Wind Speed: 7.5 kts

The word of the day is Boondoggle! Strange word, but it is an excuse to get out of the office and do something different. You might also see someone on a boondoggle that just goes along for the ride. My boondoggle came last week, in the form of a medivac! The PA and the Doc were dealing with a person who had some chest complaint issues during his stay at Pole, and they decided the best thing for him was to get to sea level. Those two have had a couple other people that they have sent out of Pole, and one very tired skier (Todd Carmichael)...so far they have been batting a thousand in terms of whether or not they can treat a person here, or whether they need to send them on their way.
Wayne saw me passing by medical, and pulled me into the lab, asked if I wanted to be an extra pair of hands for a medivac happening later that night. We were tranporting someone to McMurdo, and Wayne assured me that it was only a boondoggle if nothing went wrong. If there were complications with the patient, then he wanted someone else along to help out. Naturally, I agreed! It meant that I got one more night in McMurdo, and got to see friends an extra time!
The trip out was uneventful medically, but I got sent up to the cockpit once again for quite a view!

The crew told me about these guys, here, The Seven Dwarves...

we got to follow some of the ice flows...

and the view was inspiring not only to those of us that don't get to see it all the time...but it even caught the attention of those that do!

The morning we left McMurdo, the clouds were also putting on quite a show for us

I got back to Pole the following day, so it was a quick trip, but it was kind of nice to get away for a few hours!

A couple days after I got back, a few of us got together to go through the process of fueling/defueling the planes that come in. Normal procedure is that when the C-130 lands, it has extra jet fuel stored that it transfers into our holding tanks, which will supply us for the winter, which is nice, since we need heat! Since the "Fuelies" are leaving for the winter, they went over their tasks with a couple of us, so that we could work on the first planes coming in at the end of this winter, before the Fuelies showed up again.

Last week, I got to actually help unload the fuel from the plane. This week, I will be down in the fuel arch, filling up fuel tanks. Outside was fun, though, I got to park the plane again, and then communicate with the flight crew during the fueling process. The fuel chief, Cricket, and I ran the fuel hose out to the plane, and when it got hooked up, there was a lot of this...

while we offloaded about 3000 gallons of fuel!

Cricket standing by to wait for the flight engineer to signal that he was cutting off the fuel, and that it was time to grab our lines.

Cricket with the pickup...oh, yeah...the props are still going

and the walk back!

...seriously, who gets to do this?!?!? :)

Last week a few people left the station that have either been here a while, or were part of the siding crew that finished putting on the siding for the station this year. One of the guys, Jake, who has worked with Cully up in Summit, Greenland left,

as well as one of the old winter site managers, Andy

We sent them off in style, the same way Jerry Marty left, with a tribute from the carpenters.

The last person going through the tunnel was a siding carp, Mark, otherwise affectionately known as "Kiwi"

It's been a good summer season, lot of interesting people down here. In a couple weeks, it will all be over...and the REALLY interesting people will be left! This has been one heck of a trip so far, just waiting to see what happens next!

Capt. Splash

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