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Thursday, November 22, 2007: Happy Turkeylurky Day and don't forget to ask me who turned 50!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!
So Thanksgiving crept up on me this year and for some reason I thought it was on the 25th. In the light of this holiday I thought I would write a little about what I am thankful for this year. I would have to say I am thankful for all of my family and friends that miss me so during my time here in Antarctica. I really enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas because it is a time when much of my family, some who I haven’t seen all year, comes together. I am also missing the first Thanksgiving that is going to be held at my brother’s house and I wish I could be there to celebrate it with them. A Happy Thanksgiving to all loved ones from the SCINI team. On with the update!

Go ahead, ask me who turned 50 today!


Today was an interesting day in the world of our ROV Video Ray. We planned on traveling down to Dayton’s Wall to do some science. Our goal was to map some old experiments that Dr. Paul Dayton had placed underwater several years ago. In order to map the area we needed to drill some holes for our navigation system. So after a morning of prep, Stacy, Rusty and I went out to drill three holes in the ice. I can’t believe how easy it was to drill these holes, I’m used to the hard ice that we were drilling through at New Harbor. After an hour we drilled and GPS each of our holes without a problems. We returned for lunch and gathered up all of our equipment for the Video Ray dive.The deployment team consisted of BLee, Bob, Stacy and myself. Before deployment Bob made some extensions for our navigation cables so we could extend our range and allow us to navigate more efficiently. Well when we got to the dive hole we found our navigation cables weren’t long enough and we were about 10 to 20 meters off. I think someone forgot to carry a zero! To solve this problem we rearranged some cables and pulled one of our cables higher in the water column. After this little mishap we were on to some science.

This is what a typical rov mission looks like. Lots of wires and lots of computers.

We ran into some unexpected navigation problems and after about an hour of attempting to solve the problem we decided to cancel the science portion of the mission. With the mission canceled this was a perfect opportunity for Bob to do some test piloting. So I handed the piloting controls over and took a break from driving. Bob was doing a great job of piloting and as another navigation test we decided he should try to find our navigation transducers that were hanging in the water column. He flew Video Ray over to transducer one without any problems. Well while we were nice in warm in the dive hut the weather outside had started to get ugly. The weather around here can change in a moments notice and by the look outside a storm was blowing in quickly. Even though we were only about a mile away from McMurdo Station there was still the possibility of getting stranded in the dive hut. Stacy didn’t hesitate to call the rest of our testing and decided that we need to pack up the necessary gear and head back to town.

While BLee and Bob recovered Video Ray, Stacy and I went outside to collect our cables. For some reason we couldn’t pull transducer cable number one through the hole and Video Ray couldn’t get away from transducer number one. And then it hit us, Video Ray tether was caught on the first transducer! BLee took over the piloting controls and attempted to untangle the tether but was unable to. So now we were faced with a tough decision. We could keep trying pilot Video Ray to untangle the tether or we could unplug the navigation cable at the surface and hope that Video Ray would be recovered with a navigation cable hanging from it. We decided to go with the latter and Stacy and I unplugged the navigation cable and watched it sink under the ice. We rushed back into the dive hut to help recover Video Ray and see if our plan worked. Unfortunately, Video Ray was recovered without the transducer and cable. By this time the wind was howling outside and we loaded up our vehicle to head right back to town. We weren’t too worried about the cable because we knew it was in between the dive hole and transducer number one which was about 20 meters away. And with the visibility here we should be able to find it while scuba diving in no time. So we made it back to town and the clouds that looked mean and vicious turned out to be nothing more then strong wind.

This is an example of how tether and transducer were tangled up.

Now that we returned to McMurdo it was time for dinner followed by our “engineering meeting” at the dive locker. We weren’t really having a meeting but that’s what we told Rusty to get him to the dive locker. Today is Rusty’s 50 birthday and we were trying to have a surprise party for him. Too bad I showed up late to the surprise part! Anyways we had a grand ol time and we all laughed and giggled late into the evening. We were even joined by some of our Kiwi friends from Scott Base, oh how I love their accents. Rusty received several gifts to remind him that he just turned 50 but some how I ended up wearing half of his gifts.

These are just some of the gag gifts Rusty received for his birthday. Notice the bleeding lip, I guess when you turn 50 your parts just start falling to pieces. Happy birthday to you Rusty.

I don't know what to say, just hand me another beer.


Who IS that old redneck? Or should I say, redlip.

Did you get the transducer and cable back?

Don't you mean Rusty-lip?

And we did get the transducer and cable back - and they still work fine! There's something to be said for divers and opposable thumbs:)

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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.