Friday, December 29, 2006
Today I did something that some would see as
unthinkable. I turned down a trip to Minna Bluff.
Minna Bluff is a stretch of land within sight of
McMurdo that is attached to the Antarctic continent
itself. Ross Island, where we live is indeed, an
island and although I've been here for six seasons,
I've never set foot on the continent. However,
it's kind of like saying you haven't been to
North America if you've only stood on Manhattan.
Anyway, my supervisor asked me this afternoon if I
liked to dig. Hmmm...dig for what? Knowledge...
information...a lost gold mine??? No, dig in the
snow. While growing up, I wasn't exactly fond of
shoveling snow, or even digging it either. Sheri
offered me the chance to go out to Minna Bluff for
a morning via helicopter to dig out a failed balloon
launch buried deep in the snow off of Minna Bluff.
Unfortunately, this would be viewed as a boondoggle.
Once you get one boondoggle, it is very unlikely that
you will be offered another this year. As a result,
I didn't want to waste my boondoggle chance on a
shoveling trip within sight of McMurdo. Why am
I thinking this way? I spoke to the Manager of our
department today and there is a very good chance
that quite a few "sleigh rides" will be offered in
January to the South Pole. A sleigh ride is a day
trip to the Pole in a LC-130 where you get to tour
the Station, get your "hero shot" at the geographic
South Pole and then come home to McMurdo. If I had
taken the Minna Bluff trip, there would be no chance
of getting the Pole trip. Yes, it's a gamble, but
it's not like I'd get to hang out at Minna Bluff. I'd
have to shovel, and it's not that far away. I would
shovel if it was a place like Vostok, AGO-6 or the
Dry Valleys...somewhere remote. But not someplace
practically next door. So hopefully my gamble will
pay off. If not, I gave it a shot. Time will tell.
Posted by Tom Hamann at 1:17 AM