Friday, January 01, 2010


Going. (All photos by J. Heil)

Last year, B-63 building was condemned. This year, they are tearing it down. With it, we have lost our bowling alley, weight gym, kiln, craft room, and climbing cave. They were able to relocate the weight gym last year. The craft room finally found a new home this year. The bowling alley is in storage in hopes that we'll use it again one day. The climbing cave is probably gone for good which is a bummer because you could go in solo, but at least we still have a climbing wall. The kiln is still looking for a new home.


I wish that I had an extra camera to set up for a time lapse of the deconstruction of this building. It is definitely a piece of history disappearing. I believe the bowling alley was the last one with a manually operated pin setting machine or maybe it was just the last of a type of manual pin setter. I know we have a few other condemned buildings that are also coming down. I'm curious how different this place will look in ten years as more buildings go up, come down, and a new contractor takes over.

(almost) gone.

First Critters!

A Weddell seal outside of the SCINI open house.

In early December, the SCINI group, held an open house down by the transition to let us drive their remotely operated underwater robot. Just past their hut, a seal was basking in the afternoon sun. While I had seen other seals this season, this is the first one I was able to get close to. It did what they always do when they are out of the water, lay there. Sometimes, they'll wiggle or roll, but when they are sunbathing, they usually don't move and really aren't that exciting. Out of the water, I like to think of them as sea slugs. In the water, they are a completely different creature.

"We're late! We're late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! We're late, we're late, we're late!".

The other encounter that I was excited about, other than my skua attack, was my first penguin sighting of the year. At the end of our work day, my coworker saw some dots on the sea ice runway. He thought they might have been people, but a quick look in the telescope showed otherwise. I grabbed my hiking gear and headed out to see them.

Unfortunately, we didn't get too close. They might not have been curious about us because they were late for a very important date. A few hours later, a friend saw them still on the Pegasus road heading towards our runway. Maybe they had a plane to catch. All I really know is that whenever Adelie penguins walk, they look like they are in a hurry.

This is the penguin experience we all want when penguins are curious enough to come to us (photo by C. Linder).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last day of the year

Yesterday, I went to Room With a View up the peninsula. Today, the last day of the year, I'm heading out to Moore's Bay. It might be a stressful trip, but it is the last day of the year. I'm super excited about the possibilities. Good bye 2009. Hello, 2010!

Moore's Bay is dead center at the bottom of the map.

More info to come. Ross Island is an hour northeast of that spot. The Dry Valleys are 30 minutes north.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ob Hill Up Hill

The Ob Hill Up Hill course.

Every year, people climb Observation Hill. Some people make it a personal goal to climb it every day to stay in shape and to remind themselves just how beautiful this place is. It really only takes 30-45 minutes to go up and down if you are moving well. However, that just isn't fast enough for some of us. Once a year in December, we race up it.

On the road up, I was in 9th place (back of this picture, leader not shown).

The Ob Hill Up Hill race is always the least attended race and that is probably a good thing. The footing is loose. There isn't much room to pass. You are allowed to go off the trail, but then you are climbing up very loose scree. I hadn't been training because I had hurt myself so I, once again, didn't think I'd do well. For those of you who have been reading this blog long enough, that means I am likely to do have done well. Whenever I think I am going to do well is when I do badly. Anyway, I got to the base of trail in ninth place, even lower than I expected.

Two-fifths up, I move into 5th.

During my first Ob Hill race, people went out to fast and I was able to pick them off. I also had to walk because I went too fast in some sections. My goal this time was to not walk at all and just finish as well as I could.

When I got to the trail part of the race this year, I didn't think I'd stay in 9th because a lot of people went out pretty fast. By the halfway point, I was able to move up to third by cutting switch backs. Shortly after, second bonked and I was able to pass him. I didn't think I'd catch first, but they started to walk and I closed in. At the top, they chose the longer route which allowed me to close quickly. Unfortunately, I didn't quite get it done. I took second and was happy with it. I didn't walk and beat my past time by 40 seconds.

2009 Ob Hill Results
Whit M. 7:07
Brody 7:11 (2007 finish, 7:51, 3rd place)
Corey C. 8:08

I was also excited because my dorm did really well. For the men, HoCal placed 1st, 2nd, and 4th. For the women, we finished 2nd. I think we could dominate dorm Olympics.

You can only see my head in 2nd here.