Outside, the wind is blowing (between stronger and lighter) and beautiful powdery snow is falling. I would love to have a mountain, a lift and a snowboard! As it turns out the mountains are about 40km away, most of them have never been climbed, so lifts are out of the question, and the allowed amount of luggage did not include a snowboard. So, to put it mildly, right now we are not best friends with the weather.
It is the third day straight sitting in our science tent, trying to pass the time. We get to do little things like adjusting the three stations that we have already upgraded, but most of the things we are doing are of "extremely high" scientific value. As it turns out, generators do not like snow in them. So while Chris went out to built a housing out of old wooden crates, I had a 40 kg generator on my lap, trying to defrost the internal switches and the ice layer on the bottom. So, really no need to be scientifically accurate, warm fingers at the right angle mostly do the trick.
Why do we even bother with the generator? Well, if we don't have a generator, we don't have power, then we don't have wifi and then it will be even more boring. Partly, because I could not upload a new blog, but also because tuning stations would be impossible. After all, every single one connects via satellite or wifi to California to transmit data and to get a configuration file for what to do next.
On a bright note, we have managed to get the heater going. Thus, from time to time, we can get the tent to an incredible 12 degrees C. We probably could go higher, but then everything in the tent would melt and turn into an "ice-catastrophe" the next morning. So, no cosy warm 20 degrees. But that would also then require us to take some layers of clothes off and after one week without showering, keeping your clothes on sounds like a good idea.
While this all sounds rather depressing, we try to keep the spirit up. This includes watching videos of people dying on mountains (e.g. Touching the void or Storm over Everest), which leaves us usually thinking that our situation is pretty good. No one has frostbite (when parts of your body turn black and start to freeze), we have enough water, propane and food. -- Well, about the food. If you are bored in a tent you get hungry. So good that we have our snacks rationed. -- Anyway, things could be worse and as long as we are well able to dig ourselves out of the snow every morning ...
to get into our kitchen tent or in the evening to get back into our sleeping tents
we are alright.
And after conferring with McMurdo operations (MacOps) this morning for our daily check-in call, we are hopeful that the weather might clear up by tonight or tomorrow. So that we will be able to get back to science and to provide you with more pictures like this