Well, the new year came in ok on this side of the world. I hope it does for everyone else. The New Year is always a time of retrospection. I was thinking about my suspicion (before I got here) that McMurdo ran on coffee and diesel. We go though at least 8 tanks of coffee each morning (just for the breakfast hour). That is approximately 40 gallons. Of course that is not all the coffee consumed each morning by a long shot. It is just a comparative sampling. As far as running on diesel, the station also runs on "Mogas." "Mogas" is Antarctican for gas. Don't ask me. The select fuel of choice is however JP8 jet fuel. (Hmmmm... Fuuellll) Lots and lots of jet fuel. Those planes get thirsty. The fuel folks (fuelies) even have their own radio frequency. I have heard estimates of what diesel would cost at southpole if you take into account the distribution cost of getting the fuel to McMurdo and then to pole (by LC-130 aircraft). It is precious stuff. So, my original thought of the program running on coffee and diesel was right, but it really runs on plain old money. The program costs approximately 320 million a year. My position is that it is worth it. Those 320 million bucks buys some pretty cool dinosaur bones, meteorites, and 9 million year old ice samples (shh. it hasn't been proven yet.) and hundreds of other peaceful scientific projects.

I am working on my 2007 goals. I did pretty well on the 2006 ones considering getting to the ice was one of them. There were others that also got scratched off. The only thing I am absolutely confident about is that 2007 is going to be a great year.

Talking to the folks when I first got here they said that after Christmas it is all downhill. It will be easy and it seems like you are on your way home. The vessels come in and the pace and tone of town changes. All of these statements I personally found to be true so far. I am going to have some cool missions as we wrap things up here for the season.

I got these two pictures on yesterday's hike outside of town. The skua took a very nice bath I have on video. You can see the ODEN breaking its way through the ice over Discovery Hut on Hut Point. The ice pier is just this side of hut point. The ODEN was only about 6 miles away. Our ship will soon be in. After the ODEN the Polar Sea is following shortly after.


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