Heilman - Ice Friend
(Ice Friend was Sharon's nickname
when she posted in the Cool Antarctica Forum)
Sharon left from Peoria, Illinois on Sunday
September the 28th 2003
and arrived on the ice at McMurdo Sound Antarctica
on Thursday the 2nd of October 2003
Received 14th October 2003
Not much to report from McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
Cold and windy, planes can't come down from Christchurch, NZ, so many workers
are stranded there.
Temperatures have been about -10F to -20F with wind chills
to -60F or so. We actually had a Condition 1 in town the other day.
Unusual! Must stay where you are, not go even from one building to the
next. Condition 1 usually only occurs away from Mactown, at the airfields
of up in the hills.
My job is going very well. I love driving shuttles!!
I took some carpenters out about 10 miles onto the Ross Ice Shelf the other
day in a Delta, the big orange vehicle with 5' tires. The passenger section
and engine section are articulated from the driver section. The driver,
me, sits forward of the front tires! The are building a shelter for the
LDB, Long Duration Balloon, project. The scientists send up a balloon
probably in December or January to 120,000 feet, the edge of outer space.
It circles counter-clockwise Antarctica collecting data to be analyzed later
at Washington U. in St. Louis.
I learn so much and hear so much that there is never a dull
moment. I know we have a cushy life here compared to the early explorers,
but last Thursday, a woman decided to walk/climb up Observation Hill, a 900
foot lava hill.
she went alone and did not take a radio! A big no-no. She
lost her footing and slid on the lava about 20 feet, then rolled over and slid
another 40 feet, loosing a shoe and gloves in the process. Luckily, a
group of hikers came along after about 1/2 - 1 hour and found her. She
has frostbite on all 20 digits!! And her one heel is purple/black.
She is confined to her room, visiting medical for dressing changes and morphine
and debridement daily. She is not out of the woods yet! She could
see shuttles going to Scott Base that night and waved and yelled, but with howling
winds almost always, nobody saw or heard her. She's lucky to be alive
- and only right on the edge of our buildings !!
For some reason this was the only email we received from Sharon
- Paul Webmaster