Monday, October 11, 2010

More turnover stuff

Winter season officially lasts only four more days!  That is when the new summer manager arrives on the first aircraft to land here in over nine months!    That doesn’t mean we get to leave - the plane, a Basler, only carries a few people.  We have to wait until the first large aircraft arrives.  That ski-equipped LC-130 cargo plane that will take most of us back to McMurdo is scheduled to arrive and take us out of here on November 2. 

In the meantime I have started working on station opening tasks.  The station is supposed to be clean and fresh for the first flight so we are all cleaning.  I have shoveled snow and have started cleaning my work area and room.  I have also started packing things into boxes for mailing home.  We get up to $88 of postage paid to send things home by mail, so I am trying to send as much as possible so I don’t have to lug it as baggage on the plane.

I have also started preparing things for my replacement who arrives on the third Balser, probably around October 20.  There will be about ten days of turn-over when I show him around the station and acquaint him with the way things work around here.  The days after the first flight, and particularly after his arrival, are going to be busy for me.  There will be meetings, walk-arounds, paperwork, station and buidling tours, and still all the normal things that are done weekly.  It will all have to go very slowly though – he will be suffering from the altitude.  I imagine we will spend a lot of time in the galley drinking tea to keep him hydrated (caffeine is not recommended) and going over things.  The first two days of new arrivals are spent mostly resting, particularly if the altitude is high. This isn’t just being nice to the new arrivals; it reduces the likelihood of high altitude illness and medivacs.  

The problem with the altitude is that he, and everyone else that arrives, will go from sea level to high altitude in the four hours of the plane ride.  There is no acclimatization at all.  It can be dangerous, so everyone has to rest and are watched closely for the first few days for signs of high altitude pulmonary edema and high altitude cerebral edema (HAPE and HACE).

At least the frostbite on my face has healed, so I won’t frighten him when I meet him at the plane.


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