There’s so much snow around here that it sometimes can escape notice, but that’s not been the situation for the last few weeks.
Early on a Sunday morning nearly four weeks ago, we had a problem with the Rodwell pump. So far, the problem has proven unfixable, and we’ve had to resort to a snow melter to supply water. The snow melter is a lot of work to operate – it gets fed by a tracked loader, which has to be driven back-and-forth to the “snow mine” where the snow hasn’t been driven on in a long time, and so is very clean. Water is pumped out of the snow melter in a fairly labor-intensive process. The net result is that the snow melter can’t practically supply as much water as we had been using from the Rodwell, and so we’ve had to cut back on water usage.
Several of us have ended up hauling snow into the station to melt for our lower-priority water usage. We use melted snow like this for mopping the floors, some kitchen projects, humidifiers, etc. Early on, we had to cut back severely on showers and laundry, so I made up a little shower that was completely independent of the station’s regular water supply.
Then, there’s been some weather. We’ve had a couple Baslers on station for nearly a week, they’re en route to McMurdo, but keep getting held up by bad weather here or there. One of the planes is meant to turn around and come right back to Pole, with some tools and people to work on fixing the Rodwell. Our recent storm caused quite a bit of drifting, which has required subsequent shovelling. Here is a drift that formed downwind from one of the planes getting cleared out.
Finally, we’re getting station all cleaned up and ready for the new crew, as they should start arriving within the next week. There’s quite a lot of shovelling involved in cleaning up things outside, especially in areas that didn’t get much traffic in the winter. This is the upper deck of ICL, before we started shovelling it out yesterday.