As you might guess from the title there has been an abundance of training sessions over the last three days. The list is as follows: light vehicle training, recycling and waste, general fire and safety, environmental field training, MacOps training (communications while in the field), outdoor safety training, and field and support training. Whew! All of this training coupled with spending time in the lab getting acquainted with instrumentation I will be using for the next month equals a busy couple of days.
While all of this training might seem like overkill at first, I've really grown to appreciate the thought that is put into all of these safety protocols. McMurdo is a small town which swells in size from ~150 during the winter to ~1,000 in the summertime. This large population change is largely due to the influx of scientists coming in from around the world to conduct a variety of experiments across the continent, and the fact that McMurdo is used a staging ground for these endeavors. Many projects, such as my own, will require transportation by helicopter or plane to relatively remote locations. Therefore, preparing for sudden changes in weather conditions that might leave you stranded in the field for a couple of days is an absolute must! For example, even if you might just be planning a day trip, it is important to bring enough food and warm clothing to last for a couple of days in the event of an unplanned snowstorm. It is also imperative to have a multiple ways to communicate with those back at the base in the event of an emergency or if there is a need for additional supplies.
Unfortunately, training doesn't leave you with many flashy photos. Therefore, I’ll leave you with this gratuitous photo of Weddell Seals sunbathing along a pressure ridge (or break) in the sea ice on McMurdo Sound.
Happy New Year!