Well, it’s not so much “ice” right now. It’s the height of summer at McMurdo, which means other than the actual sea ice just off shore, the roads and land around town are exposed dirt. That doesn’t mean it won’t snow again until winter, it’s just not constant snow.
The weather has changed from warm (40F) and sunny to cloudy and windy with wind chills under 20. My ears got really cold walking around town today trying to find the Byrd Field Center. They issue gear for anyone going out of town. Richard and I have plans to sleep out on the sea ice soon in one of the survival huts scattered around the Castle Rock Loop Trail. Because of the Antarctic Treaty, bodily fluids like urine cannot be left out on the ice — they have to be collected and treated with the wastewater. So, Richard and I will need to collect our pee and bring it back to the station. Therefore, I needed to grab a designated “pee nalgene” from the gear center.
I have worked four shifts so far and I am finding the work physically tiring and mentally boring. Fortunately, the people are very nice and interesting. The position I have is called “Steward.” We are here to clean. That’s basically it. But, the work is secondary to the experiences of meeting cool people and living in Antarctica. But I fully understand why the turnover for Stewards is so high.
Part of my exhaustion, however, is my own fault. My friend Nicole will be excited to know that I went to a CrossFit class on Thursday. I had never before been to CrossFit and I am currently paying for my choice. ALL the muscles in my upper legs are on fire. Can’t wait for that healing to begin.
I also have to constantly remind myself to drink water. The climate down is so dry that the majority of health issues stem from dehydration. And on top of all that, I am adjusting to my new schedule. I take some time to recover from time changes, but I haven’t had time for a good, long, alarm-less sleep yet. And my shifts will either be 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. I am glad to have the morning shifts, but they will take adjustment nonetheless.
I think Richard and I are enjoying each other’s company. It is nice to have my best friend back in my life. And it’s fun to meet all the friends he has made. He seems to be getting along well here within the community.