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We went to Snow School with Paul Dayton!

by Pauline Yu — last modified Oct 02, 2010 08:00 PM

Our first full day on the ice, Paul, Lydia and I ended up in Snow School (aka "Happy Camper") with assorted staff and other scientists who were new to the ice. Prof. Paul Dayton is by no means a newcomer, but during his last deployment they didn't yet have Snow School. On his first trip in 1963, he didn't even have a dry suit for diving! He and his colleagues (Profs. John Oliver, Stacy Kim and Bob Zook) are here to retrieve ecological experiments started 40 years ago under the sea ice - a momentous occasion.
Our Snow School instructors Matt and Brian taught us teambuilding, safety and all the crucial things we needed for surviving short term in the field. We built a snow wall, made hot water from snow, spent the night on the sea ice, and learned that having to pee in our water bottle is preferable to having to trek to an outhouse in the cold. Lydia and Paul made survival trenches and slept in them at least part of the night. I had to abandon my trench excavation, but I was pretty cozy sleeping in a Scott tent with all my layers on.
The weather was pretty nice the first day and the following morning. By the next afternoon a storm blew in and we got to experience Condition 2 and Condition 1 visibility conditions. Quite an experience - it was reassuring to realize that while it was unpleasant, we weren't suffering because the ECW gear really works!
Nonetheless it was great to be back on base, eating a huge meal at the cafeteria and sleeping in a bed.

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Article in the Antarctic Sun

Posted by Pauline Yu at Oct 18, 2010 01:33 AM
This article describes more about what Prof. Dayton has done over the years.