Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Yay!!!! I’m at the South Pole!!

After being delayed 4+ days (even twice this morning), I have finally arrived and settled into my ultimate destination. I even have my own small room (I was sharing a room at McMurdo with 5 others). All I can say is that the South Pole is super cool, and I love the station. The community here is much smaller and more tight-knit. People even came out to greet us and help with our bags when we arrived…granted, most of them haven’t seen anyone new in approximately 8 months since they wintered-over, but it was all good

The flight here was very different than anything I’ve flown before, as you will see by the pictures. We flew in on a Basler that only went up to a cruising altitude of 17,000 feet. Since this flight has windows, we definitely had some very good mountainous views. However, since the windows would constantly freeze up, I had to use my drivers license to scrape it clean. The other interesting thing about the flight is that there was oxygen available for our use. Due to using the oxygen, I definitely felt good when I got off the plane. However, the altitude may be affecting me a little tonight as I run out of breath just climbing stairs, I have a minor headache and my head feels a little floaty. Even though, the elevation here is almost 10,000 feet, the atmospheric pressure causes it to feel like 12,000. I’m not taking Diomox so I’ve been sucking down the water so I don’t get dehydrated. I should also mention that if you read the previous blog, “Giving Myself Up to Science”, then it will make sense when I tell you that I’ll be wearing the sleep vest tonight since it’s my first night here.

The season here should be very busy as the station will be at capacity. I’ve heard upon arriving that the Today show is coming in November. Also, James Cameron, Buzz Aldrin, and Steve Wozniak will be showing up sometime after driving here in fuel-celled hummers (click here to see article). Not to mention, the station dedication in January that will have politicians flying in from DC (though they won’t say exactly who). In the meantime, I start my first day of real work tomorrow. I have 4 days to learn everything I need to know from the sys admin that wintered-over.

Click here for some photos


  1. 4 days! Oh no, we both know thats way too short, trial by fire I guess.
    Since your admin do you get priority bandwidth to post more stuff? :-) Love the pics and posts so far. Hope the altitude treats you gently.

  2. Wow - great photos! I just shared them around the office.

    I love that someone took the time to mark off the seal's breathing hole. Is that someone's job?


  3. I'm not 100% sure of the exact procedure, but I would say someone saw the hole and reported it. It was right next to the road so it was easily spottable. The black flags represent restricted areas so we were not allowed to walk over and peek in. However, a seal did peek it's head out while we were there, but no one was fast enough with their cameras unfortunately.