Haunted Bonney Halloween

31 10 2009

Today, the evil spirits of All Hallow’s Eve were certainly out and active. First of all, Shilpa woke up this morning in a bad state, swollen and hoarse (she’s been fighting the crud since the day we were leaving McMurdo), and we all agreed it was best if she stayed back at camp to recuperate.
After a delicious breakfast of pumpkin pancakes courtesy of Emma’s 6 am rising, the rest of us headed off to the ‘bothouse on the ATVs to see how progress was going on the melthole. Maciej and Jim had spent the night there tending the melting equipment (a set of diesel burners called “Hotsies”) in an effort to get the hole finished up after numerous breakdowns and delays.

Jim Under Bothouse

Jim adjusting the Hotsy melting coils in the melthole under the 'bothouse.

However, when we arrived, all Hotsies were silent and had run out of fuel, and one of them had sprung a diesel leak which was filling up the secondary containment basin underneath it. In the middle of dealing with this, we were reminded that Maciej and Jim had to go back to camp to pack up another Hotsy that had previously broken so that the helicopter arriving in an hour could take it back to McMurdo to be repaired. While they were gone, we finished up preparing ENDURANCE to do its first dunk in the water.
Emma, Rachel and ENDURANCE

Emma and Rachel working on prepping ENDURANCE.

When ENDURANCE was ready, we fixed up the ‘bothouse while we waited for Jim and Maciej to come back to finish chipping out the hole.
Saluting the Banner

The ENDURANCE project banner is raised in the bothouse.

When they returned after a rather long delay, we found out that Maciej had thrown out his back lifting the Hotsy at camp, and was pretty much down for the count in terms of getting any physical labor done.
Jim and I worked at getting the Hotsies running again, when suddenly, I saw flames coming out of the top of one of them. This is not normal. I ran inside to grab a fire extinguisher and notify people. In the end, Jim turned off the fuel shutoff and the fire was decreasing, so I decided not to spray the sensitive Dry Valley environment with ammonium phosphate fire retardant and just monitored the situation while the fire burned itself out.
Burning Hotsy

Culmination of demons' activities this Halloween: the burning Hotsy.

In the meantime, Rachel had come down with a full-blown case of the crud as well and eventually decided to head back to camp early. Also, Chris burned a big hole in his sock trying to dry it out on the heater.
The melthole never did get finished, though we did manage to put up some skirting around it to keep the wind off it and make it warmer inside the bothouse when we open the moonpool cover (from the perspective of the interior of the ‘bothouse, we refer to the opening through which the ‘bot descends into Lake Bonney as the “moonpool”). Pictures of this tomorrow.

We did end the day on a high note. Emma had prepared a great Halloween celebration when we came back, complete with little carved carrot jack-o-lanterns.


Emma's beautiful Halloween meal. Even the pita bread is a jack-o-lantern.

We even dressed up for the occasion.
Kristof Rocker

Me rockin' the mullet and Stratocaster...ish.

However, the final count for the Halloween demons was three people down, a leaking Hotsy, a Hotsy on fire, a burned sock, an unfinished melthole, and no initial dunk for ENDURANCE. Here’s to praying the saints are nicer to us on their special day tomorrow.




One response

1 11 2009
Maria Richmond

and I am praying that the souls (Nov.2 is All Souls day, at least in Germany it is) will be even more kind to you. By the way, Knilchi, I recognized you even with the wig on your head and the guitar in your hands!!! 🙂
Wondering how the evil spirits will behave here in Boulder. There were big fears that the mall crawl would come back! There was to be a big police presence and all down town parking garages were to be closed from 9pm til 2am tonight, 10/31.
Thanks to Emma from this mother for taking such good care of you all.
And don’t you dare to get sick!!

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