Day 27 – Stuck in McMurdo   2 comments

This last Saturday I headed to McMurdo for a two day trip to help Hilary, another diver, with her check out dive. She was unable to dive when we were here before due to a barrow trauma she got from diving before making it to the ice. Barrow trauma occurs when air gets trapped and then is not able to escape on the assent. This causes the air to constrict and pull blood from the surrounding tissues to equalize the air space. It is very painful. Hilary’s was so bad that it caused all the teeth on that side of her jaw to go numb. It has been over a month since she had her barrow trauma and is finally able to dive again.

Drilling the primary hole

In order for her to do her dive, she had to fly back to McMurdo and I accompanied her so that I could also meet a potential adviser for graduate school (cross your fingers). The trip was more successful than I anticipated. Not only did I meed the person I ended to, but also to other potentials and was able to get the names with recommendations of other people not in Antarctica.

However, early this morning weather moved in and the helicopters were unable to fly us back to New Harbor. But it seems that things there are on hold due, again, to technical difficulties. Our hotsy has again broken and we are on pause for making dive holes. I did have a question for a picture of a Hotsy and to explain how it works.

We start making the hole by drilling a hole about 5 inches wide. Then the hotsy finger (the metal coiled thing) is lowered into the hole. This metal coil has a glycol mix in it that is heated by the hotsy (the big red box looking thing) There is a boiler that heats the glycol and a pump that circulates it through the hoses. The hot finger then heats the water, causing it to melt and, after a very long time, you end up with a dive hole. To prevent the dive hole from refreezing, we put a cookie on top of it. This keeps the ice from fully forming.

Lowering in the finger

The hotsy at work

The cookie, and it's happy to see you!


Posted October 31, 2011 by dwoodward707 in New Harbor

2 responses to “Day 27 – Stuck in McMurdo

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  1. Thanks for the photos as the whole (hole) process makes more sense now. If you are looking for a graduate program please find one that is well funded. Love you,

  2. That’s the largest Vanilla Tea Cream Cookie I’ve ever seen. !!?!! We “dig” reading all about your adventures, D. Does the ice taste?

    (News (for real), there’s a crack in the ice where you are playing down there and it’s the size of New York! 50 meters thick and it’s one big iceberg. Headlines don’t exactly explain if you and your colleagues had something to do with this).

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