Sunday, February 04, 2007

Vessel Offload Begins

At around 5:00 this evening, the M/V American
Tern pulled up to the Ice Pier and Vessel Offload
officially began. Offload is when the supply ship
brings a year's worth of supplies for both McMurdo
and South Pole stations and all of these items must
be removed from the ship in a 3-4 day period. While
it is being unloaded, it is "staged" at various places
called "pads". Lynn is working nights this week as
the "Ballpark Admin" It's an inside job that is
typically given to someone who's been with the
program for a long time and isn't quite as brutal
on the body as many Supply jobs during offload.
Lynn definitely earned her stripes though as over
the years I've watched her climbing on, under and
in crates and boxes unloading and checking incoming
goods. The Ballpark is a large area where milvans
are kept season after season and is acts as a huge
holding area during offload. I heard at one time
why it was called the ballpark, but over the years
I've forgotton. It's near an area named Larryville
where a guy named Larry once spent most of a season
living like a hermit. Go figure.

Each of the containers or milvans (also known as cans
during offload" have to come off the boat one at a time.
Then they're trucked to their destination. The ship has
a tendency to be a bit top-heavy while it is fully loaded
it was a little scarey watching it pull up to the Ice Pier.
It seemed like it was coming in a little fast, overshot
the pier by about 15 yards and did a little sideways bob.
It didn't seem to be in danger of tipping over, but it
definitely made everyone watching it hold their breath.
Included in this year's freight are three pre-fab buildings
that will be used as offices for B-136 FEMC. This is the
group at McMurdo that completes all of the building maintenance.
Apparently they needed out-buildings and these trailer-type
buildings came aboard. They'll be assembled within the year.
That's all McMurdo needs is more buildings.

Just outside our dorm is the Galley Pad. Right now it's
empty, but throughout the week it will be filled up with
all of the food items that will be consumed during the year.
Being assigned to the Galley Pad is a love/hate assignment
for Supply folks. It's near town so you don't have to
hike all the way up to the Ballpark, but it's really tough
work since every single item has to be counted immediately
before it goes into the food warehouses.

It's going to be an interesting offload. Only food items,
medical items and DNF (Do Not Freeze) items will be "received"
since everything else will be done this winter. I will be
one of the receivers. I'm sure by August I will be very tired
of the B-140 Cargo Bay where most of this will happen and
driving these items into the Bay via a Pickle or Loader will
be old hat. Right now, I'm a little nervous about it all as
it seems so overwhelming...I'm sure I'll do great though and
it will be a fun job.


Anonymous said...

The ball park is named so, because there used to be one there.

Or so I was told.


dani said...

hey there sunshine...just wanted to hi...happy off-load and congrats on a trip csouth...hope you had fun at the was great to see your pictures...brought back some memories...of living of course and damien and snadwich....hahahaha...tell damien i said hi...not sure if he remembers that they summered at pole and are wintering at mactown...i love it :) hope all is well with you and lynn...miss your smiling faces :) dani