Days 4 and 5 – Training, training, and more training

The last couple of days have been a blur. And I am honestly really exhausted. Adjusting to the ice isn’t bad, don’t get me wrong. It’s just different. I am constantly thirsty, always applying chapstick, eating about 6 times a day to get calories… it’s just different. And on top of that, we’re sitting in training after training after training. My brain is like goo. The picture attached is our schedule that Brian with a y and John S put together for us. I thought it would be cool to show you what we are up to. I’ve also added a couple of notes and stickers… and maybe some honey mustard from lunch yesterday, so don’t mind any of that!

The big things to know in addition to all of the trainings we’ve been doing are:

12/4/18 Antarctica time –

We had a pretty big storm on station. The weather is rated by Categories here where 3 is normal and sunny and 1 is so harsh that you have to stay in the building. The storm put McMurdo into Cat 2 and the amazing mountains that surround us disappeared into the white haze. Some of the buildings on station disappeared too. Phoenix airfield, where we landed to come into McMurdo, was in a Cat 1 and all the flights were canceled. Things were pretty hectic on station just because everyone’s job got canceled. So people were either in the galley eating or surfing the internet – both of which got just crazy crowded! It was cold, windy, totally white with no mountains, and it made me realize how good we had it the day before when we all came in.

12/5/18 Antarctica time –

Yesterday was beautiful. Flights were back up and running. Station was Cat 3. All was well. We trained, we pulled gear and food for our shakedown (where we go out to the ice to practice and make sure everything works before we go out into the field), and then we went exploring. Ringo, Paul, Elena, and I went to the Observation Tube – a tube that is in the ice that you can climb into so that you’re literally under the ice. It’s pretty amazing. Elena and I also went on the Pressure Ridges tour (Paul caught the later one) which is where the Ice Shelf and the Sea Ice collide and have the ultimate battle of who gets to subduct and who gets to rise. It’s pretty wild because ice just jets up out of nowhere and can get up to 20 ft high. Plus there are a lot of seals around.

Thoughts from the team on training:

  1. Paul – “Super excited to have finished the Outdoor Safety Training so that I can explore and look at rocks.”

  2. Brian with an I – “Those pictures of frostbite were pretty cool. That really got my attention.”

  3. Jim – …still waiting on Jim’s thoughts…

  4. Brian with a y – “What training?” Just kidding. He didn’t say that. Actually, I am not sure he volunteered his thoughts.

  5. Ringo – in very official NASA speak – said “Training is general enough to cover all of the different groups and still be applicable and focuses on safety being the first priority.”

  6. Elena – “I learned all about Raynaud Syndrome which was really cool. I didn’t know about that before.”

  7. John S. – “Well, training is good but I am excited to get out to the field.” Oh, yeah, John went out to the field yesterday to start grooming our runway. Thanks, John!

  8. Sheridan – me… well, I like training. I love McMurdo so I enjoy meeting the people that give the lectures and the people that are in them with me. I also just like all of the people here. Everyone is so friendly and I feel like I have already made a lot of friends!

Ralph (back home in Cleveland for those of you new to the blog) requested that Paul write the next blog so I am going to pass the baton onto him for a minute or two.

Until next time,


P.S. If you don’t hear from us within a couple of days, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad. We’re just really busy and also really tired at the end of the day (or I am at least). Just didn’t want y’all to worry too much. 🙂

-minor editing by rph