Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ships and Ice Piers

Happy Friday to all.  It's Saturday morning.  It's been a busy week so far.  The guy I am working with (relieving) here left the ice yesterday.  2 weeks training enough?  We shall see.  Hope I don't screw things up too bad. 

Anyhow, our fuel tanker has been in port now all week and the offload of 7,000,000 gallons of fuel for the station is now complete.  The difficulty now is getting her out of port.  It's an old not very maneuverable vessel and the Captain has pretty much, and rightly so refused to get underway with winds above 15 knots.  That's not too common here.  So it sat and waited, and waited, and waited.  Until yesterday, calm winds, around 5 degrees--great day for a hike, so off I went after work to an area known as Arrival Heights, a nice 4-5 mile loop around the local hills here. 

 The tanker in port here is tied up to an ice pier.  It's a pier made each year out of fresh water (freezes at a warmer temp) over the winter period where the crews run the water and shape it to the correct specs.  There are two piers, the unused is a backup in case they need it for some reason. 

 The icebreaker Oden was out in the turning basin waiting to come in an help tow out the stern of the tanker to help her on her way out to sea, leading the way out the channel as well.

A look back at McMurdo, the port and Observation Hill.

 Somehow, during the day, Murphy struck.  The old ice pier had slipped it's mooring and drifted out blocking the channel. This prevented the tanker from leaving although the winds were well within limits. Folks were frustrated because as soon as this ship leaves the all important resupply vessel is coming in and already a week behind schedule.  It holds all the heavy equipment and dry stores for the next year.  Folks are anxious to get that evolution done.
Looking down at Hut Point Peninsula and the Oden.

Finally getting underway, setting up to tow out the tanker this morning

So that was an interesting evolution to watch, although it took a week to happen.  Now for the BIG resupply ship this afternoon.  The Navy is in town now to offload the ships--so they close the bars while they are here--talk about a reputation!  Lots of parties in the lounges now that the official establishments are closed for the week. 

Well, back to work for me....stay tuned for another exciting, drama filled installment of life at Mcmurdo...

No comments: