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Monday, October 22, 2007: Tomato Diving in Condition 2
We woke up today to Condition 2 at McMurdo with Condition 1 (the worst) in some surrounding areas. There are official standards for each Condition but basically Condition 3 (the best) is cold and windy, Condition 2 is colder and windier with low visibility, and Condition 1 you don’t leave the building you are in because you might not be able to see your hand in front of your face.
Marcus took this picture of our formerly red Tomatoes out on the sea ice.


But did Condition 2 stop the divers? Of course not! It’s always Condition 3 under the ice! Bob, Stacy and dive tender Annie met me in the “Road Tomato” where I had been chipping the ice out of the dive hole. The wind was howling outside, and inside for that matter, as the Tomato sits up on skids for sledding across the ice. A seal had been using our dive hole as a breathing hole which helped make the chipping a little easier.

Stacy getting her second hood on to try and thwart brain freeze underwater.

Stacy’s regulator was frozen so I stuck it in my armpit for a few minutes to thaw it out. Lucky Stacy! Then Stacy plopped in and we watched her bubbles.

Okay - we are taking a break from this exciting adventure for a quiz! Match each of the people on the team in Antarctica with their hometown. Good luck.

1. Stacy a. St. Paul Park, Minnesota
2. Bob b. San Jose, California
3. Bryan c. Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
4. Nick d. Boston, Massachusetts
5. Marcus e. Colorado Springs, Colorado
6. Mindy f. Morristown, New Jersey

Bob getting ready for the icy plunge.

Back to the scintillating story: The divers got out of the water, and we got all the gear into the Tucker, just in time for me to catch lunch at 1 pm. Such an exciting life! I made Bob and Stacy each a plate of food before the scrumptious goods were put away and put their dinners on the warming rack for them to eat once they were out of their dripping dry suits!

Auger Update: Bryan valiantly tried to pull the sword from the stone, I mean the flights from the ice, but the &^%$# things are still stuck. So maybe if/when the 20 feet of ice goes out, we'll find our 18 feet of flights in the bottom of McMurdo Sound. It will give Stacy something new to look for when she goes diving.
Bryan doing his best King Arthur imitation

Health Update: Bryan went down! It might have been from leaving his computers and venturing out to wrestle with the flights. He has a cold, he sniffles, he coughs, he has the "McCrudo". Poor Bryan. Nick is holding steady. Good luck, Nick! The rest of us are feelin' fine though you hear remnants of the TB ward from Bob and Stacy. Bob lost his voice for awhile, but he's back with full vocal cords.

Okay - now you can have the quiz answers.

Stacy = New Jersey,
Bob = Colorado,
Bryan = Massachusetts,
Nick = California,
Marcus = Pennsylvania, and
Mindy = Minnesota.

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This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ANT-0619622 ( Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.