But, all work and no play makes Ioannis a dull boy. (We joke, best we stop picking on James, just this once.) With our time between duties, we’ve been keeping busy. Four of us ran a 5k with “The Coasties”. “Coasties” are a group of globetrotting sailors with impeccable fashion sense, laying siege to frozen ice with their Polar Star ship from pole to pole.
Joking aside, the US Coastguard Polar Star is the ice breaker that just arrived 2 days ago, clearing a channel through the sea ice to facilitate the arrival of the research/science vessel, the cargo vessel, and the fuel vessel, which supply McMurdo for the winter season. The Polar Star is an impressive ship and we got the privilege to tour it. On board feels like a labyrinth, with small hallways and cramped rooms, the bridge is the biggest space. 150 crewmen and crewwomen are on board to operate and maintain the ship – one of the final ships built by Lockheed’s ship division (in 1972). The vessel has 3 propeller shafts, driven by diesel engines when cruising, and turbines when breaking through thick (6 foot) ice at 3 knots. The vessel is fueled by over 1.5 million gallons of diesel fuel which would more than last a round trip from Seattle (its home base) to McMurdo. Today the Polar Star left and made way for the science vessel that just docked a few hours ago. The cargo vessel is due Jan. 25th.
In honour of the coastguard visit, McMurdo hosted a series of Coastie-themed events, including a 5K race. Four of us (Ioannis, James, Juliane, Scott) participated alongside other residents of McMurdo and several well-dressed Coasties. The route took us through town and up that dreaded hill towards Scott Base. At the conclusion of the race, Juliane was at the front with a pack close on her heels. As you can see in the photo, the Coasties were in their exquisite pink short-shorts. To put your mind at ease, no, we were not running from snow yetis – it is high summer here, they’ve all left town.
On a more-serious note, we heard that there appears to be a US government shutdown looming. We have been updated on the situation by the NSF representative in town as it will affect us. The main point is, we’re not going to be stuck here, it’ll be business as usual until April/May for McMurdo. So, lucky for most of you back home, your staycation away from us ANSMET folks will likely not end early as a result.
Posted by Juliane and Scott from McMurdo on 2018-01-20 at 14:45 local.