managed to get in it. I found a middle rack that was empty, and with a bit of careful maneuvering I could get in and out.
The day of the party I went ashore to take some pictures and look the place over. The main drag that ran from the base to the airstrip reminded me of back roads I‘ve seen in Texas.
McMurdo is really a big base, and it has a nuclear power plant. I reckon the men there have most of the conveniences, but I wouldn‘t care to winter over there, or any place else down here.
The best way I can describe the Antarctic and icebreakers and everything that goes with them is Mind Benders
About the last two weeks at McMurdo we were left alone. The Glacier had gone to the Weddell Sea to do some oceanography work and the Burton Island had gone to Wellington for liberty and would be back 4 or 5 days after we left.
Finally the day came, February 7th, for us to leave McMurdo. We had to stop by Hallett Station to pick up Mr. Riordon and then make it to Perth to load supplies for Heard Island, and for some liberty.
11 February 1969 Hallett Station
Hallett looked the same, well to tell the truth, I don‘t even remember seeing it the second time. We just stopped long enough to pick up Mr. Riordon and then left for Perth.
While at Hallett, the Seabees taught Mr. Riordon how to run their machinery and qualified him as a heavy equipment operator. After the Seabees got through with him, he hit the rack and slept for 24- hours.
11 February to 15 February 1969 Hallett Station Antarctica to Wilkes Station, Antarctica
After we left Hallett all morale was up because we were going to civilization. Then came the message that the Danish cargo ship Thala Dan, leased to the Australian Government, was stuck in the ice trying to get into Wilkes Station, run by the Aussies. The men at the station were down to emergency rations and needed the supplies badly.
We changed course and started across the 1,800 mile stretch to reach Thala Dan. On the way we crossed into the Indian Ocean, and was it ever rough.
We started into the ice, and on the afternoon of the 14th we sighted Thala Dan and commenced to break them out. It was a real sight. The whole crew was on the weather decks, waving and taking pictures of us, and looked dumber than hell. They had to be to be running a ship like that in the ice this late in the season.
Thala Dan is about 200 to 225 feet long and has one 1,200 horsepower main diesel engine. No wonder they were stuck. I figured the Aussies had it planned for us to come get them out. Nobody in their right mind would take a ship like than down to the Antarctic.