My first week on the ice has been very eventful. On Sunday a few new friends and I went to the latest Mcmurdo attraction: The Ob tube. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen, which unfortunately is very hard to grasp with an Ipad camera. You will just have to believe me! The tube is offered to everyone on station who has taken the outdoor safety training. The only problem would be not fitting in the 2ft diameter tube that you have to climb down. Plus, in order to climb down the 25 ft tube you also have to be able to bend your legs while in the tiny space which is kind of tricky. Totally worth it! I saw lots of small fish, a few jellyfish and some really cool formations created by the ice. I never imagined the underside of a frozen bay to have so much texture. The whole experience was very unique and is only available for three weeks a year before the ice gets to thin and while the weather is nice.
(2 days later)
On Monday, one of the windiest days yet, Nick and I decided to go back and check out the Ob tube. We figured there would not be a line since the weather was less than favorable. Laying about 30 ft from the tube we saw a seal. That was only the beginning. I went down the tube and was sitting for about five minutes when all of a sudden the fish were moving really fast in my direction. My heart started pumping because I knew something was really close that the fish were swimming away from. Behind the fish I saw a seal! I only had a few seconds to get some low quality photos.
(The photo on the left shows the ice formation, the right is the seal I spotted and the little specs are fish)
This seal was sleeping right by the Ob tube entrance.
The most exciting part of my time working in the VMF happened on Tuesday. It started out just like any other day… I had just received boxes that I was supposed to open and find locations for. I opened one box and found a silver fish!!! That may not sound too thrilling, but around here we don’t have any bugs. The whole office got involved and looked at him in the box. The funniest part, we had to call Hazardous waste to come and remove the bug. I don’t think he survived very long since she put him in a plastic bag, but there is not much else that can be done. I wonder how I will feel about wildlife after a whole year!
Later, I got a tour of the tanks in the science center.
(the left is the touch tank with weird creatures and the right are some of the sea spiders, all were found by the bay)
Here is my last minute Halloween costume for the party. My boss was going to throw away this GPR (ground penetrating device used on traverses to find crevasses), so instead he helped me take it apart and use it for my costume. The tag on my head explains that there is a broken wire, also attached to my head. The costume worked great, but a lot of people thought I was a scientist. A very nerdy costume for a materials person!