I had high altitude training and I flew out to Lake Bonney to get some radios working. The high altitude training was informative and the theme was again similar to extreme adventuring, stay hydrated, know your limits, look for and be aware of the early signs of danger. The class of course had a lot more content than that but that was the general theme. The trip out to Lake Bonney in the Bell 212 takes about 50 minutes each way although we stopped for fuel at a fuel cache on the way back. Two of us went to the Lake Bonney camp and the other two got dropped off on top of Mt. 1882 to get the repeater going. Using HTs on simplex we got the systems running but we still have a bit of a problem with the Internet link.
It is starting to sink in that I am in Antarctica. I took hundreds of photos today and a whole bunch of cool short videos. Lake Bonney is a very interesting lake for science purposes. There are almost no living things in it and the ones that are living are primordial. There are extremely strict rules of conduct in the area (the Dry Valleys). All pee and human excrement gets retrogaded. You have to carry a pee bottle and use it if you need to to ensure the area stays as pritine as possible. It was definately quite a treat to be there. I had heard that the dry valleys are like the surface of mars or another planet. Now that I have been there I suppose it might be. The ground is a course sand/gravel that gives freely when you walk. It does not pack. The rocks are certainly interesting as well. With all my ECW on and my bunny boots you can't help but feel like an Astronaut. This is a geologist's dream. In fact I saw some of my Geologist friends off at the helo pad as they were off to another part of the dry valleys until December 14th. It will be neat to catch up with them when they get back into town.
Although it is not what I expected the basins and toilets seem to not swirl at all. The water just runs down at the angle that gravity takes it. This needs more study to be sure. I will have an update in a few weeks.
Spit at 25 below does not freeze before it hits the ground. It does freeze shortly after that. The really cold temperatures of the pole and polar plateau get cold enough (I hear) to get a cracking noise when you spit. Those polies are crazy. Folks I eat with here live in tents at these temperatures for months down here. They are very hearty indeed.
The sun being up 24 hours is strange and I don't think anyone can really get totally used to it. It really does stay light 24 hour a day this time of year. There is no twilight. Sometimes you get tricked by thinking there is twilight when the sun goes behind a cloud. It is 9:30 PM right now and it is just as bright as it was when I got up at 5:00 this morning. I have heavy blinds over the windows to help with the human/mental concerns.