January 11, 2008 Getting ready for the New Station Dedication- Passing of time and Sir Edmund Hillary
Passing of time, the Dome and Sir Ed Hillary.
Temperature: - 32 Celsius, - 22.4 F
Windchill: - 46 Celsius, - 47 F
Wind: in the morning 17 knots
Weather: Sunny, with some high clouds, no flights due to a storm in McMurdo.
We are still hoping that the visitors from NSF will be able to take the plane early tomorrow morning from Christchurch and come to our Dedication celebration. It will be a long day for them coming to the South Pole for 5 hours and being here under such extreme conditions. However, it will be all worth it.
In the mean time, the station has geared up for the big day.
A special clean up group has come to the station for a week to help with special cleaning assignments:
Helpers from McMurdo:
This group of janitors came to help at the station. Each one of them took the job to be in Antarctica, but they do other jobs when off the ice. From the left to the right are: Matt (an engineer), Melissa (a registered nurse), Roxanne (an anthropologist), and Dorothy (an insurance officer).
Dining Hall Assistant (DA) Colleen:
Colleen Hardmin is a Dining Hall Assistant. Here she is making certain that the hallways are clean. (Remember, she and Katy were making the beautiful Christmas table decorations.). This is Colleen’s first time on the ice. She took a break from her humanitarian logistics studies at the Humboldt State University to be at the South Pole and to travel after she will have completed her time on the ice in February.
For many days, the carpenter team Andrew and Sarah have been using the gym to prepare the NSF-Banner-and building-wind-funnel for the attachment outside of the New Station.
Andrew and Sarah with the NSF-US-Antarctic Program banner inside the gym:
Andrew and Sarah prepared the NSF-US-Antarctic Program banner inside the gym.
Carpenter Andrew and Sarah at work in the gym:
Carpenter Andrew and Sarah at work in the gym with heir heavy tools.They worked many days on the attachments.
Some days before, the banner-holding-structure was attached to the outside of the building. This area is facing now the position of the Ceremonial Pole. Imagine doing all this at minus 40 and below F with windchill factor!
Attaching the banner-holding-structure:
Two teams in two man-lifts were needed to attaching the banner-holding-structure on to the building at less than 40 below F outside.
This banner was then put outside the station with many human recourses attending: Dough, the station operation manager and Clay the carpenter foreman were supervising:
Attaching the banner to the crane:
Many hand were needed to attach the banner to the crane.
Transporting the NSF banner with a crane:
Transporting the NSF banner with a crane with many hands attending.
Positioning the banner on the ground:
Positioning the banner on the ground under the station.
Maneuvering the NSF banner into its location:
The crane drivers had to be very skilled while maneuvering the NSF banner into its location.
Mark in the crane:
This is Mark at the crane. He is an Antarctic veteran and would like to do a traverse some day. "Froggy” was the other crane driver.
Many hands helped to have the banner maneuvered into its position.
Fasten the sign:
Carpenter Foreman Clay and station operation manager Dough are going to fasten the banner onto the building.
Workers are applying the final pull for the attachment and for the banner to stretch. They have been outside at -45 F windchill for several hours.
Observing the progress:
Elke is observing the progress of the NSF- banner attachment. Besides being a wonderful building sign, it will also function as a wind funnel to help direct the blowing snow to go under and past the station.
The New Station is ready for the Dedication:
The New Station is ready for the Dedication. Tomorrow, the ceremonial pole will be moved to be placed right in front of the banner. I was asked to help to move the Belgium flag. Belgium is the country South-West of Germany and has a similar flag as Germany.
The US flag, midnight sun, and the Old Dome:
I took my usual walk around the station at midnight, marveling the sights of the endless sun, sky and wind. I walked around the Dom to take a picture of the Dom’s flag covering the midnight sun; this will be the last time in 33 years. Passing of time is part of life and sometimes that is difficult to accept. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s day that will honor the past as well as the future. Thank you Dome for your service!
Added Note: Though I did not find out until a day later, January 11, 2007 had its special significance in reminding the whole world about the passing of time: Sir Edmund Hillary passed away: the legendary mountaineer who was the first to climb Mt. Everest May 29, 1953. He was also the first since Amundsen and Scott to arrive at the South Pole on January 4th 1957. (See also Journal January 4, 2008)
For more information on Sir Edmund Hillary see: