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Starting the night shift at WAIS

Posted December 20th, 2008 by

Date: December 20, 2008
Location: WAIS Divide
Time: 3:00 pm
Latitude: 79°28’1.2”S
Longitude: 112°5’6.0”W
Elevation: 1,759m
Temperature: -26 °C (-15 °F)
Wind speed: 8 knots
Visibility: ~5 miles (8 km)
Clouds: Overcast
Wind direction: From the north
Precipitation: Light snow
Animals: None
Breakfast: Fried grits, “fancy fruit” muffins
Lunch: Pizza of many different varieties
Supper: Flank steak, chicken and veggie noodle soup, baked potato
wedges, pastry with fruit, chocolate cupcakes

Hi there again, the drilling continues to go as planned and on Monday we will start drilling 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. We will work in three shifts: 7am-3pm, 3pm-11pm, and 11pm-7am. I am going to be on the night shift and I have been wondering how its going to work out. Of course it doesn’t matter at all in terms of daylight which shift you have, but it does matter in terms of the camp schedule and the meal schedule. It seems to me that each shift has pros and cons: In the morning shift you have to get up early (compared to a normal schedule back home), but you get to hang out with the rest of camp in the evenings and all of your meals are at normal times. The hardest thing about the morning shift would be going to bed early enough to get enough sleep. Also, since you are on the same schedule as most of camp, using things like the satellite phone, taking showers, and doing laundry would be harder because you have to fight the crowds. The afternoon shift seems nice at first, you have a somewhat “normal” sleep schedule, you have mornings off to get stuff done, but the downside is that most of the hanging out with camp folks happens after dinner which is right in the middle of the
shift. The night shift is neat because it is going to force me to have a completely different sleep schedule than I have ever had before. I’ll have to decide if I want to have free time in the morning right after my shift, or in the evening before I start work. If I use my free time in the morning, I’ll be able to get a lot of stuff (writing on my research papers, email, making calls on the satellite phone, etc) done and can do chores, but I will not be able to hang out with many folks because most everyone will be working. If I use my free time after dinner, then I’ll be able to hang out with lots of folks, but I’ll likely get less stuff done. Also my meal schedule is going to be all messed up: dinner will be breakfast (if I wake up in time to eat it), I’ll get some sort of a meal in the middle of the night, and then camp breakfast (usually eggs or pancakes) will be my dinner. I’m actually quite excited about working on the night shift and am curious about how I will adapt. It’ll be a mini-psychology experiment on myself.

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