Goan to Antarctica....

Goan scientist Helga do Rosario Gomes is en route to the icy continent, and is keeping her blog of the journey...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Marie Curie's ghost haunts the MIXURS program

Nursing monstrous Pisco-induced hangovers, the scientists awaited the arrival of the helicopter from McMurdo. I am so glad that I did not touch that stuff.

Once again we were granted permission to go on the ice, but only after the helicopter had landed.

The helicopter showed up in the horizon so suddenly that no one could claim that they had spotted it first. Apparently it's a matter of prestige!

It landed on its skis and disrupted a group of Emperors but not for long. They soon turned up to inspect the helicopter. So did we for the perfect photo opportunity -- in the same orange jackets with the helicopter in the background and of course the Emperors around us.

To be honest last year's helicopter drop was much more dramatic. Yes, last year, we also ran out of radioactive material -- Marie Curie’s ghost haunts the MIXURS program.

Last year's helicopter was smaller and very fast and manned by two young women from the US Coast Guard. Because the helicopter had no skis they could not land on the ice so they circled the plane and then hovered for a few breath catching moments on it's side.

In those few minutes they dropped our package tied to a rope exactly at the foot of the waiting Raytheon Tech. It was all so precise and perfect that we were blowing flying kisses even when they were long gone!

The Nathaniel Palmer has a helo deck for helicopters to land but our horrible incubator tanks have been placed there.

We left the ice soon after that much to the disappointment of the interns who were harboring a tiny hope that we would be going to the McMurdo base. Last year we did and in my next entry I will tell you how 2500 people live on that base for almost six months. A hint -- very well!


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