Friday, February 6, 2015

So Long to the Cold, Cold, Part of the Earth

Picture 1: View of our transport to the Pegasus Airfield.
I completed all of the lab activities I needed to in advance of my return trip just in the nick of time. I now have approximately 150 suspended sediments filtered, dried, weighed and packed for transport back to the US. The sediment samples are required to be shipped separately back to the US due to soil permitting issues and it will likely take anywhere from six to eight weeks to get the samples back to my lab. Once the samples arrive, I will work with Villanova undergraduate students to learn more about the chemistry, mineralogy, and relative age of the sediments.

Picture 5: View of our flight landing on the Pegasus airfield
ice runway.
Picture 3: Transition to the night sky on our return flight
One of my highlights of this past week was having the opportunity to talk with students of Villanova’s Environmental Science II course. A live conference call was organized where the students were able to ask questions regarding how McMurdo and field camps obtains their energy, waste disposal practices in Antarctica (this explains the delay for the past two posts), what my research entails and/or what it’s like to conduct research under challenging conditions. The call lasted approximately one hour and I was really impressed with the forethought put into their questions.

Picture 4: View of all the cold weather gear of our flight's
Early to mid-February marks the time when many other scientists’ research season is coming to an end which means there a lot of folks looking to leave McMurdo at same time. About three years ago they started flying late season chartered airbus flights back to New Zealand to help meet this need (As the temperature gets colder, the permanent sea ice strengthens and is therefore able to hold the extra weight of a large aircraft). About 50 of us were transported out to the Pegasus sea ice airfield in a specialized tram (Picture 1). The trip took a little over an hour and brought us to the airfield just in time to see our plane land (Picture 2). I have to admit it was a little strange seeing such a modern aircraft on an ice runway. We subsequently boarded our flight and before long we were on our way back to New Zealand. It was great to see the Dry Valleys one last time out the window and about 40 minutes later we were back over the open ocean.

Picture 5: Christchurch Botanical Gardens
About an hour and half into the flight the sky began to darken rather noticeably. Given we took off a little after midnight, I realized this would be the first time I would see the night sky in about six weeks as we made our way north of the Antarctic Circle. It was amazing watching this transition to dark and finally seeing the moon and stars illuminate the night sky (Picture 3). Once we landed we had to clear customs and then return all of our warm weather gear (Picture 4). Needless to say we were all pretty tired as it was now 9am. After saying goodbyes, we all went on our own ways.
Picture 6: View of the Christchurch Cathedral.
I have decided to spend a couple of days in the warmth of New Zealand before heading back to the states. My hotel is close the botanical gardens in Christchurch and the smells of plant life were quite overwhelming at first after being surrounded by snow and ice for so long (Picture 5). 

One last thing worth mentioning is the lasting impact the 2011 Christchurch earthquake has had on this town. I was last here in 2003 and the downtown area is almost unrecognizable. The M6.3 earthquake was followed by a sizable 360+ aftershocks; all of which had an incredibly damaging effect on the city’s buildings and infrastructure (over 80% of the city’s water and sewer lines were compromised). The earthquake was so damaging given its close proximity to the city center, its relatively shallow epicenter and the fact that much of the city is underlain by river silt given its location in a flood plain. This abundant silt can liquefy during an earthquake and cause extreme damage to foundations. While it was good to see so much new construction underway, I was quite surprised to see so many multi-story office/apartment buildings vacant and waiting to be torn down (Picture 6). On the plus side, some artists have made the most of the changing architecture to paint a rather timely and poignant wall mural (Picture 7).

Picture 7: Climate change focused mural in Christchurch.
If things go to plan, I will spend a little more time in Christchurch and hopefully visiting the coastal town of Oamuru and its famous penguin colonies before I leave. I’ll be signings off as this marks the end of the Antarctic portion of the journey. It’s been great to have so many folks following along and I hope you learned a little more about what it’s like to conduct Antarctic research along the way. If you have any question, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks again for reading!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mactown (Part II)

Picture 1: View of the galley.
In the last post, I focused on the functionality of the city so for this one I thought I’d focus a little more on daily life in the town.

Picture 2: View of the handwashing station.
I’ll start with food. There are typically three meals a day which are served in a common galley (Picture 1). Staff and scientists eat together for meals which are typical of what you might expect in a college cafeteria. Food is primarily shipped in once a year on the supply vessel, and only supplemented periodically, so fresh fruit and vegetables are not too common (When it does arrive, you definitely appreciate it).  Right outside of the galley is a hand washing station (Picture 2). While it’s not mandatory, all residents are strongly encouraged to use it before every meal.  Given everyone is working in such close quarters; it’s always a good idea to prevent the spread of germs whenever possible. I was pleased to see >90% of the residents use this station before each meal.

Picture 3: View of Chapel of the Snows.
To help with daily necessities there is a barbershop/hairstylist where one can get a haircut. Given the cost is only $10 (a bargain back home), I couldn’t say no. There is also a post office located in a nearby building where one can send and receive mail (several readers of this blog should be expecting a postcard in the not so distant future!). There is also a small chapel located along the waterfront (Picture 3).
Picture 4: Daily activity board located
outside of the galley.
Many of the scientists on base typically work every day, while the support staff in McMurdo only get one day off per week. With that being said, it’s nice to have some activities which can break up the routine of the daily life. Each morning outside of the galley, there is a dry erase board listing the variety of activities posted for that given day (Picture 4). These activities can be of the recreational variety (i.e., trivia nights, yoga, or sports) but there are also two science talks per week which are highly attended by both scientists and staff. The really neat thing about the latter is you can often here cutting edge science talks from those doing the research itself. In fact, I was able to catch a talk from the scientists associated with this research which recently made the round in the news:
Picture 5: View of the McMurdo coffee house

Finally, there are two lounges/bars that are open for a couple of hours some evenings as well as an all-night coffee house (Picture 5).  I particularly enjoyed the latter due to its movie lounge (Picutre 6). The base has accumulated a decent library of DVDs from its workers over the years, which are available to check out via a modified library system. The base also receives a small number of TV channels via the armed services network.

Picture 6: View of the movie lounge located inside
of the coffee house
While these amenities might not seem like much, I’ve been very impressed with the positive morale of all the residents. I think this outlook definitely helps when you’re missing some of the luxuries back home.

Mactown (Part I)

Picture 1 View of three of the dorms in McMurdo.
Now that I’m back working in the lab I’ve had plenty of time getting acquainted with McMurdo Station (aka Mactown). It’s hard to believe there is a functioning small city on this continent but there is and it’s actually quite interesting. Therefore, I thought I’d have a couple of post focusing on McMurdo itself.

Picture 2: View of the interior of a typical dorm room.
As I previously mentioned, the population of McMurdo swells in the summer months to ~1,100 from a couple of hundred during the winter months. While an influx of scientists is partially to explain for this population increase there is also a need for a much larger support staff (i.e, kitchen staff, facilities maintenance, helicopter plots, outfitters, lab technicians, clerical, etc.).

First, you need a place to put everyone. As of now, it’s a series of college style dormitories located in the northwestern part of the town (Picture 1). Due to space limitations all residents share a room with someone else and all dorms have shared bathrooms (Picture 2).

In order for all these residents to have drinking water, water for showering etc. you also need a source of freshwater. Unfortunately, there are no abundant reliable freshwater sources of water in the area therefore you need to obtain water from the ocean. Fortunately, there is a reverse-osmosis desalination water filtration plant in McMurdo. Water is pumped out of McMurdo Sound and through
Picture 3: View of the reverse osmosis filters located in the
interior of the drinking water plant.
Picture 4: Interior view of a reverse
osmosis filter. 
a series of fine membranes which keep allow water to pass through but not the salts (Pictures 3&4). The purified water is used for human consumption while the remaining brine water (water with a heavy concentration of salts is pumped back into McMurdo Sound. At peak capacity, the plant is capable of generating up to 70,000 gallons of drinking water per day. Although there are active reverse osmosis desalination plants back home in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California, this was the first time I was able to tour this type of facility. Needless to say, I was very excited.

Picture 5: Interior view of the McMurdo wastewater
 treatment plant.
It follows there should also be a wastewater treatment facility as well. Interestingly, McMurdo has one of the most advanced treatment systems on the continent (Picture 5). The system is designed to treat up to 40,000 gallons of water per day during the peak season. The treated wastewater is discharged along with the brine water from the drinking water plant, thus keeping the total wastewater stream near the salt concentration of seawater.

Picture 6: Panorama view of all the recycling bins located on
each floor of a dormitory.
I was also particularly with the way the town deals with its solid waste. On each floor of the dorms and in each building in town altogether there are a series of bins to separate your waste. Categories include the following: aluminum cans, mixed paper, glass cardboard, plastic, light metal, glass, non-recyclable materials, sanitary waste, and hazardous waste (batteries, etc.) (Picture 6).  Separating the waste is important as it will all be loaded on a vessel in separate cargo containers and shipped to California where most materials will be sold to recyclers. The food waste and hazardous waste will be disposed of properly once offloaded. It is also important to separate the food from other waste as the ship will pass through equatorial waters and the containers will warm substantially along the way. Therefore, the food waste containers are stored separately and refrigerated in order to prevent significant rot and more importantly bad odors for the crew.

Picture 7: View of one of the high efficiency diesel generators
located in the McMurdo energy plant.
 It’s also worth mentioning how the town receives its energy. McMurdo actually shares an energy grid with New Zealand’s nearby Scott Base. The main power source is a series of jet grade diesel power generators, which are some of the most efficient engines currently on the market (~75% efficient). As is the case with all fossil-fuel powered generators, waste energy is released as heat.  At the McMurdo energy plant, this waste heat is harnessed and transferred to a glycol loop which provides heating for a series of buildings at McMurdo. Finally, the base also receives supplemental energy from three wind turbines located nearby Installation of the windmills was completed in 2009 and on average they provide up to 15% of the electricity needs for McMurdo, and over 85% of the same for Scott Base. More importantly, these wind turbines save the need for ~120,000 gallon of diesel fuel annually. The base is currently looking for ways to expand its wind energy (and possibly solar) energy capacity to both lessen its environmental footprint and decrease its annual energy related expenditures.

In the next post, I’ll spend a little time talking about daily life in the town.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wildlife (thus far)

I’ve been receiving some questions regarding what wildlife I’ve seen so far so I thought I’d dedicate a post to the topic. As I previously mentioned, marine wildlife follows the sea ice edge; on our last helicopter trip back to the base, we followed the sea ice edge (the helicopters are not permitted to operate over open water) which gave me some great marine life sightings. There has also been a substantial amount of melt due to both natural causes and facilitated by the recent docking of the Coast Guard ice breaker (in anticipation of clearing the way for the supply ship).
Picture 1: Three adelie penguins on sea ice in McMurdo Sound.

Picture 2: Three orca whales in McMurdo Sound.
Picture 3: Wedell seal lounging on sea ice near Hut Point.
I’ll start with the helicopter ride first. Adelie penguins tend to use the ice edge as a staging ground since they feed off of krill and fish in the surrounding waters (Picture 1). But why is there so much food for them to eat here? While the sea ice is thick (up to 6 ft) it’s still thin enough to allow sunlight to pass through. This allows the growth of primary producers (photosynthetic organisms) both algae in the ice itself and phytoplankton in the area immediately below.  The waters of McMurdo Sound are rich in nutrients so the long hours of sunlight in the summer months can really get the system going in terms of primary production (think of a garden growing with lots of light and fertilizer).  As the season progresses, the ice thins and melts causing the algae to fall out and phytoplankton growth to rapidly increase. This phytoplankton is a main food source for krill, small free swimming crustaceans, which form a significant portion of the Adelie penguins’ diet.

Antarctic minke and orca whales are also present in these waters (Picture 2). While the minke whales eat the plankton and krill, orcas are known to eat penguins and fish. Therefore, they both tend to follow the ice edge as well. While I had heard orcas can often be found in packs, I was still surprised to see so many together. Overall, it made for a pretty eventful helicopter ride.

Picture 4: Emperor penguin near Hut Point in the process
of molting. 
Back at McMurdo, we’ve seen a slow progression of different marine mammals make their way to our area. Wedell seals have been present near the base since I arrived in late December (Picture 3). They can hold their breath far longer than penguins and therefore were seen much earlier in the season along cracks, or pressure ridges, in the sea ice formed by internal stresses. Wedell seals can eat a variety of marine organisms including krill, fish, squid and sometimes even penguins.
Picture #5: Two adelie penguins near Hut Point.

However, with the arrival of the coast guard icebreaker and the subsequent arrival of a research vessel (the Palmer), there is now a decent amount of open water near some portions of the coast line.

Unfortunately, the area of ocean which has opened up is near an area has been off limits to us since Monday morning due to all the activity at the docks associated with the soon to be arriving resupply ship. Since I knew of this cutoff time in advance, I took one last trip out to this area late Sunday night to see if there were any new visitors to the area.  I was pretty surprised with what I found!

Picture 6: Wedell seal swimming near Hut Point.
First, there was an emperor penguin not too far from the shore (Picture 4). The Emperor actually showed up a couple of days earlier and has been sitting patiently ever since. Emperor penguins are a little less common than adelies in this area, but they sometimes follow the open water created by the icebreaker.  Emperor penguins are the heaviest and tallest of all penguin species, sometimes reaching over 3 feet in height. This particular emperor penguin is in the process of molting, or a replacement of its feathers. Each year most penguin species will undergo this process where old feathers which have become worn will be pushed out and replaced. I’ve been impressed with how still this penguin has remained throughout the days only moving to keep its back turned against the wind.

However, on this last trip I also found a couple of new visitors to the area. Two adelie penguins had also made their way in along the new pathway in the sea ice, though they appeared a little more tired from the journey (Picture 5). By this time it was near midnight and I was pretty cold. I was about to head back to the base when I saw something staring at me from the water.  It turns out there was also a Wedell seal in the area (Picture 6). This one seemed to be intrigued by me and stared at me a couple of times while I stood watching.

Picture 7: Minke whale swimming near Hut Point.
It was at this time when I heard what appeared to be a huffing sound and a nearby splattering of water. It turns out a minke whale had also made its way in to the waters near the base! (Picture 7) The minke surfaced and spouted several times near the ice edge likely feeding in this area (While I was able to capture some video of this the internet speed is really slow so I’m only able to upload pictures for the time being). All in all, it was a great day for sightseeing.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Goodbye to the Dry Valleys

Picture 1: View of the lower portion of Taylor Valley.
The valley floor is approximately two miles wide at this
On Wednesday morning, my colleague Carolyn and I took one last helicopter ride out to the Dry Valleys to collect additional soil samples for her project. This time we were to land at the F6 campsite, which would serve as our focal point for sampling soils along three watersheds located in the general area. One small caveat to this trip was that we heard beforehand that winds coming off of Taylor Glacier and down the valley had really picked up overnight (40-60 mph gusts). While the majority of our helicopter ride across McMurdo Sound was uneventful, it did make for an interesting final leg of the journey upon entering the valley. I had the front passenger seat of the helicopter this time so it allowed me to get some great photos of the valley (Picture 1), though it was hard to keep the camera level due to the turbulence!

Picture 2: Diagram illustrating katabatic winds in 
Antarctica (Source:Alfred Wegner Institute for Polar
Marine Research).
These winds are a weather phenomenon known of katabatic winds. These winds are common in Antarctica and originate from the build-up of cold dense air over the higher elevated ice sheets.  Periodically these air masses will get dislodged, and due its greater density gravity will propel it down the valley as fast moving winds (Pictures 2 & 3). The air itself generally heats up as it moves downhill and this helps remove any excess moisture near the surface helping to keep the Dry Valleys a desert environment. While katabatic winds can generally be in excess of 100 mph, we were fortunate to experience a milder version.

Picture 3: View towards the west end of Lake Fryxall at the
onset of our hike. Note the low level clouds, which are
associated with the katabatic winds.
Unfortunately, the winds were blowing from the direction of our planned two mile hike to the west of end of Lake Fryxall (Picture 3). In addition to the winds, we were both carrying backpacks with our sampling equipment so this was not going to be an easy trip. We slowly made our way up the valley floor using moraines and large boulders as periodic shelter from the winds. It took us about an hour and half to reach our first destination, Delta Stream (we decided to sample the closer watershed, Crescent Stream, on our return trip). After refueling with some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we collected our samples and then began our return journey. At first, the wind was at our backs which definitely helped push us along. However, it was while we were sampling Crescent Stream that the winds shifted in a cruel twist of fate; they were now blowing directly from the east. Needless to say we were pretty wiped out when we finally made it back to camp. After taking a little break, we sampled the third and final watershed which was a lot closer to the camp itself. 

Picture 4: Nighttime panorama of the Commonwealth Glacier.

Picture 5: Lower Taylor Valley illuminated by the
nighttime sun.
The last night in the field was bittersweet. We had dinner with members of the "stream team" who were also still staying at the campsite. Later in the night, I decided to take one last night in the Dry Valleys. While I will leave the valleys with many memories, one of my favorites is seeing the landscape in the eerie nighttime sun (Pictures 4 & 5). As I previously mentioned, the different direction of sunlight illuminates the landscape in a unique way often revealing secrets that were hidden in plain sight. I hope I can do the same with the samples I collected and add to our overall understanding of how sediments and elements are transported in this unique system. But for now, I decided to just take it all in one last time. While I may never get to see this part of the planet again, I'm extremely grateful to have had this field experience. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Blood Falls

Picture 1: View of open water to the north in McMurdo 

Picture 2: View of the Ferrar Glacier. The glacier occupies
 the valley immediately to the south of Taylor Valley.
It was nice to catch the last helicopter flight back into McMurdo Saturday evening as it allowed me to get a warm shower and an actual bed for a night before heading back into the field on Monday morning.  There was a noticeable change since the last time I took this flight across the sound.  The edge of the sea ice was clearly visible a couple of miles to the north due to additional melting during these summer months (Picture 1).  Last year there was a substantial amount of sea ice melt and the area in front of McMurdo was completely ice free. This would be great if it happened again because you are able to see whales and adelie penguins when the ice retreats close to the base. Stay tuned!

The Monday morning of my flight back out to the Dry Valleys was probably the clearest day since I’ve been here.  This allowed us to take an uncommon, but highly scenic route to the Dry Valleys.  Upon crossing McMurdo Sound, we took a diagonal flight path across Ferrar Glacier and the Kukri Hills (a mountain range with peaks over 6000ft) to reach the upper end of Taylor Valley (Pictures 2 &3). Both provided spectacular views making this one of the most memorable flights I have ever taken.

Picture #3: View of the Kukri Hills range.
Picture 4: View of Blood Falls.
Our first destination was Blood Falls. This geologic feature is located along the eastern edge of Taylor Glacier and essentially marks the upper end of the unglaciated portion of Taylor Valley (Pictures 4&5). While I have previously seen pictures of this peculiar feature, I was not prepared for its size it is equivalent in height with a five story building! Blood falls gets its appearance from dissolved iron that is being discharged in brines, water that is saltier than the ocean, from the base of the glacier. When in contact with oxygen near the surface the iron oxidizes or reacts with oxygen to form this reddish color material. It is believed this brine was deposited during a previous interglacial period when temperatures where warmer than they are today and a relatively higher ocean filled much of the Taylor Valley and abutted the glacier itself.  It is not yet known what controls the periodic flow from Blood Falls. At the time of our visit it was not flowing so we were only able to see the iron oxide deposits.

Picture 5: Closeup of the iron oxide deposits located at the
base of Blood Falls.
After taking in the sights, it was time to get to work. This trip was a little different than the last one because I was in the role of field hand. Helping others with their research projects is quite normal in the Dry Valleys because projects can be labor intensive, the overall field season is limited time wise due to climate, and you are not allowed to enter remote areas of the field by yourself for safety purposes. 

Therefore, my job today was to assist Dr. Carolyn Dowling, a geochemist from Ball State University in Muncie Indiana (Picture 6). Carolyn is looking at the relative chemical weathering of the soils in Taylor Valey, in other words the of amount chemical alteration that has occurred solely due to the interaction of water with the minerals in the soil. As I previously mentioned water can be a precious commodity in the Dry Valleys; therefore, the longer a soil has been present the more 

Picture 6: View of Dr. Carolyn Dowling and D. Berry
 Lyons hard at work in the field.
Picture 7: View of me sampling Lawson Creek.
extensively it is to have been chemically altered. It is this potential linkage between time and chemical weathering that forms the basis of Carolyn’s project. In each of her sites we collected soils in a transect, or straight line moving directly out from the stream bed. This will allow her to see how shallow groundwater near the stream is also influencing how minerals weather.

An added bonus of this trip was the fact that I got to join a long-term research mentor of mine in the field, Dr. Berry Lyons of The Ohio State University… or should I say the home of the 2015 National College Football Champions!  Dr. Lyons served on my PhD committee at Ohio State and was the one who invited me down here to conduct research in the Dry Valleys (Picture 6). Berry has over 20 years of field deployments in the Dry Valleys so I was excited to ask him questions about so many features and processes in the valleys while we were both witnessing them firsthand. I also appreciated his updates of many individuals I had known from Ohio State and what their projects entailed.

We made a total of two planned stops which also allowed me to collect spot or one-time suspended sediment samples from four different streams, thus adding to my dataset for the year (Picture 7). Unfortunately, it was during our time walking around this second stop that we learned that a storm had moved into McMurdo rather suddenly, which meant that this would not be a day trip after all (This has definitely been an unpredictably stormy and cold season). Fortunately, the Lake Hoare campsite was not too far away and we had a place to stay for the evening. While it meant another night in a tent, it also meant the likelihood of another great meal. We were also joined by several other scientists stranded by the weather. In all, there were a total of 19 people staying at the small campsite. Again, we all made the most of it and had a great evening together. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Change in Scenery and a Change in the Weather

Picture 1: Snowfall at the Lake Hoare campsite 
Picture 2: View of snowfall looking up-valley of he Lake
Hoare Campsite. 
As the saying goes, all good things must eventually come to an end.  The good news is I finished my second diurnal (24 hour) sampling of Anderson Creek.  However, the weather has been slowly getting colder by the day, which has definitely lowered streamflow in the area.  It’s been really interesting to watch this steady downward progression in temperature (the average daily high temperature is now in the low 20s instead of low 30s).  While some of it is due to the frequent cloudy skies of late, it is ultimately the result of the decrease in solar radiation as we move away from the austral summer solstice.  It’s pretty amazing to experience firsthand an environment slowly shutting itself down for the season.

Two nights ago, I woke up in my tent to the sound of howling winds. It’s a little disconcerting when you feel your tent shaking, but the wind was then followed by a sound which made it seem like the tent was being pelted by sand. I unzipped the tent door to discover it was snowing (Pictures 1&2)! I was supposed to be taking a helicopter ride to my next field site, but the helicopters that transport scientists to different locations throughout the Dry Valleys do not operate in these conditions. This delay was actually a welcome relief in some ways as it let me stay an extra day at the Lake Hoare campsite. I really enjoyed my time there, especially solving crossword puzzles with Rae and Rene during our free time.  They run a great camp that is a welcome reprieve from sampling.

Picture 3: View of the upstream portion of the Von Guerard 

watershed. Crescent Glacier is located to the right..
Yesterday, the weather improved and my helicopter arrived and transported me to my second field site F6.  Here, I will be sampling Van Guerard stream for its suspended sediment concentrations as well.  As an addition to the study, I’ll also be collecting separate samples for a colleague who is interested in determining the amount of atmospheric pollutants from other parts of the world that make their way down here and are deposited on glaciers.

There are some differences between Van Guerard and Anderson streams. The former is a much longer river whose source waters are from two glaciers instead of one (Crescent Glacier and an unnamed glacier to its east) (Picture 3).   

Picture 4: View of water tracks in the Dry Valleys.
There are also differences between the campsites. F6 is a lot more crowded than Lake Hoare, as there are many different research teams working in the area (16 people as I write this).  I was introduced to members of one group who call themselves the wormherders. These individuals are researching nematodes, small roundworms that live in Antarctic soils in the Dry Valleys. The nemotodes graze on yeast, bacteria, fungi and the microscopic life in the soil. The scientists are studying whether increasing the amount of carbon, phosphorus, and/or nitrogen will lead to an increase in food for the nemotodes and affect their overall metabolism. Another group is using the area as a base camp for studying water tracks along the surface of the soils (Picture 4). These features are superficial landforms that are created by the downslope movement of water originating from groundwater seeps. The ground water is ultimately sourced from the seasonal melting of permafrost, glaciers, and snow.

Picture 5: View of the F6 campsite with its many tents.
While many people in tight shared quarters can potentially lead to tension, everyone here has clearly made the best of the situation. We all chip in with the cooking and chores. There also appears to be a morning tradition of everyone participating in a group version of Wii’s Just Dance to get the blood flowing after a cold night.  Needless to say I didn’t do so well on the first day but I enjoyed myself.