I feel like I am back in college again. I live in a dorm room. I have a roomate. His name is Paul. He is an electrician. I eat in a cafeteria. I have lots of classes I have to take. I am doing homework at night, trying to become an expert in things that I never presumed I would have to be an expert at. Like HF radios. Or how to get to an outhouse in a whiteout. Or how to drill holes in sea ice to measure its thickness and decide what vehicle can drive on it. Or how to step out of a helicopter if it is dropping me off on a sloping hillside. Or how to cut open a helicopter with the intention of removing anything living from the inside of it. Or where all of the radio repeaters are. etc. etc. etc. I have taught (or "helped" teach) my second "happy camper" course. These 2-day classes are great. We often hear that they are some of the most fun experiences the "students" (often PhDs, camera crews, divers, helicopter pilots....) have while down here. Well, at least to this point.
To some, Erebus was the greek god of darkness, son of Chaos, who lived in the underworld of Hades. To us, it is the southernmost active volcano on earth. And it is on Ross Island, the same Island that McMurdo station is on. It is very photogenic.
"....So then this blond Lawyer walks into the bar...." Joe and Nick, two guys who I shared the flight with from Denver to LAX to Sydney to Christchurch to MCM. I stole the idea from these guys for the photo at the beginning of this post. Nick on the metal bottle.
Mt Terror - the neighbor to Erebus. A radio repeater is placed there seasonally. The tiny little buildings in the foreground are the "I-tent" and storage jamesway where we teach our happy camper courses at. I shot this photo from the lounge at the New Zealand Scott Base during a SAR meeting.
The happy campers setting up burly Scott tents (the canvas pyramids at right) and some more traditional shelters at left. They get the privilege of sleeping in their shelter of choice for a nice, cold, antarctic night in the name of training.
One of the funnest parts of the Happy Camper course is "Bucket Head". If you ever get the chance to visit McMurdo, with the intention of traveling off base for research, etc. You will wear a bucket on your head too. We use them to simulate whiteout conditions, and challenge people to develop a plan for searching, getting back in a building, etc...