Tomorrow is the big day. Our first deployment is scheduled for tomorrow. Our goal is to tag a non-reproductive adult female. The team spent the day at McMurdo going through another walk through this morning. We practiced the process of weighing a seal by quite literally weighing two of the Crary IT staff (Crary is our science building at McMurdo). It was pretty hilarious, I’m sad to say I have no photos from the event. They were pretty excited about the idea of being our test seals and we were very grateful to have their help.
All day has entailed getting our gear (and our minds) together. I think most of the team is feeling a little crazed with the anticipation of tomorrow. We’ve all done this before (some more than others obviously), but I think you can’t help but feel a little flustered at the idea of getting back on the saddle. I’ve been creating check lists, going through photogrammetry gear and set up, looking at settings, and checking off my lists all day. I am exhausted and the most important thing I can do at this point is get a good night’s sleep, but it’s hard to convince yourself to go to bed when you still feel like there is more you can do. It’s almost 10:30 at night and Rachel, John, and I are all still running around the lab (of course by running, I mean sitting in front of our computer screens) in preparation for tomorrow. I am currently adding camera calibrations to the Photomodeler library, an important step since we are using new cameras this year.
Our dry run went well. It was mostly an opportunity to get our feet wet and run through a couple practice runs on the ice (weights, photogrammetry etc). It was great to get back out on the ice without the additional pressure of having to tag a seal; it gives us a chance to ease back into things. Plus, it’s a blast getting back on a skidoo. Visibility wasn’t great yesterday, I couldn’t see the peaks of the Royal Society Range, or much else really, but the wind was low, it was relatively warm, thus making it a pretty ideal working day. Setting up the onion in low wind is great and the lighting for photogrammetry is also better on a day with even lighting like yesterday.
To close for the night, I will leave you with the conditions from yesterday. I think it may be a neat practice to try and get into.
Mean Temperature: -12.9°F
Wind Chill: -14.8°F
Average wind speed: 8 knots