So today will easily be THE DAY to beat when it comes to Antarctica Awesomeness.
The combination of Thanksgiving and helping train Liz this past week ran me down pretty hard and I think it was starting to show. One of the firefighters I’ve actually gotten to know fairly well decided he needed to boost my morale so he arranged for an informal morale trip with two of the scientists with whom he’s friends. They’re both divers and divers frequently need dive-tenders – people to help carry their gear, get them suited up, tend to the hole (which can get congested with bits of ice which are quite sharp), etc.
So on a GORGEOUS Friday morning, he and I headed down to the dive shack and I had an informal lecture on the different diving equipment they use. This was hugely interesting to me because I’ve never gone diving in my life, although getting certified is on my James Bond list). Then we loaded the PistenBully with all their equipment and headed out to the ice just on the other side of Hut Point from Winter Quarters Bay. That day the divers would be photographing some sponges with a special camera mounted with lasers designed to measure the specimen being photographed, as well as taking a sample back for further analysis.
Honestly, as much as I love it down here, just being out of sight of the station for a few hours did me a world of good. It gets a bit claustrophobic after awhile because you all live on top of each other and everyone is trying to be in everyone else’s business. While the divers did their thing, my friend and I hung out in the dive shack which was super warm thanks to a powerful little heater. Then, because it was so gorgeous out, we went out and slid around on the ice a little bit.
It really was exactly what I needed – it reminded me of why I wanted to come here and how amazing this continent is – that it supports life at all and how life has changed and evolved to persist in these hostile conditions; that you can look out at the Royal Society Range and know that there is NO ONE out there; that this place was discovered and explored at all, let alone by people with such rudimentary equipment as they had. This little excursion helped me remember exactly why this was my childhood dream and exactly how blessed I am to have made this my reality.
Sorry, that got a little gushy. But sometimes I just can’t help it because I really am so awestruck so much of the time, but as with anywhere, and particularly when you’re working such long hours, it’s pretty easy to get bogged down in work woes. As the Eagles said, “Just remember this my girl: when you look up in the sky, you can see the stars and still not see the light.” Although perhaps that’s not the most appropriate quote to use during an Antarctic summer…
At any rate, the rest of the day was spent with laundry, a shower, and curling up with The Boondock Saints which I had been craving for a few days and was pleased to have found available for rental in the station store. So yeah, just absolutely hit the spot in terms of what I needed.
And there may have been one other thing that made it THE BEST day ever but it’s the kind of experience I need to share with you in person so be sure to remind me to tell you about it and show you pictures when I see you!!