Monday, November 14, 2005

Ship ahoy!

Today the Lawrence M. Gould should be coming back into station.  The arrival time has been a subject of great speculation due to the engine that failed on our crossing of the Drake has failed again.  The reason that it is more of an issue on this run is because the winds here have brought in a huge amount of small icebergs.  The Captain sounds sure that he will be able to successfully navigate the treacherous blocks, but I still have my doubts about the ship actually making it here.


Anonymous said...

Hi George! I've been enjoying your blog and photos. I noticed that you posted the temperature. I was wondering how cold it really feels in Antarctica. Do you have to wear special clothing to go outside? How long can you stay out there without getting too cold?

Anonymous said...

So are you getting sick of being around the same people all the time?

gorg said...

Dealing with the temperature is less of an issue than dealing with the lack of air moisture. Although on a couple of occasions it has gotten down to about -20 degrees Fahrenheit. In situations like that it is quite nice to enjoy a stove fire in the galley. When duties and research take us out into the cold weather we have lots of specific gear to suit the situation. Raytheon is very good about equipping us to handle the weather. Hopefully the winds change and the ice clears out of our harbor so we will have the chance to experience some real situations where our winter gear will show its effectiveness. One piece of “Extreme Cold Weather” (ECW) gear that we have had the chance to get used to is the “Float Coat”. Float coats are jackets padded with floatation foam and heavily insulated to keep a person afloat and alive if they were to fall into the water. This is required gear for anyone getting on a zodiac or even near the water on the pier. We are not given an estimate of survival time due to the float coats; we are just told that it will extend the amount of time a person has to be removed from the water.

In a lot of cases the gear that we are given to endure the wind and snow are not much different then the clothing we wear in Syracuse during the winter. Everything is made with Gore-Tex material including the socks. We are given many layers of clothes making it easier to adjust our insulation factor and keep our bodies at a good temperature. Gauging our temperature becomes second nature after awhile but is key to knowing how long we can stay outside. Today the temperature rose to about 35 degrees Fahrenheit and the sky was clear allowing the sun to really heat us up. This was a great day to be outside.

Thank you for your questions, if I have overlooked something or didn’t make my thoughts clear please feel free to ask me about it.

gorg said...

In response to the question about seeing the same people all of the time:
This is an issue that I was concerned about myself. I thought that monotony would build quickly and I would be sick of seeing the same 42 people everyday. Well first of all it has only been two weeks but I have to tell you that the people down here are great. I am finding that I am forming life-long friendships here. This is a unique place that only specific types of people would choose to go. I am happily surprised.

Plus there are new people coming in here about every two weeks, this will work out nicely as time moves on. With all of that having been said, we are only two weeks into three and a half months of ice time. I guess we will see.