Sunday, March 29, 2009

Getting quite dark here...

The view out my window is beautiful yet again. The sun is no longer there on the horizon but the colors it has left are amazing. I wonder how much more of this i have to see before i get to see some stars. Man i would love to see some stars.

The sun was getting lower and lower, this was the second best view i had from my room of the sunset. Again around 12:30am

Krissie and I decided to go up on the roof to get some shots, this is the sun shown in between the sun globes. Met uses these to track the path of the sun and such, the sun shines into these and burns a path through a piece of a special piece of paper that sits in the curved portion you see surrounding the globes. They're not quite effective at these temperatures or with the sun this low naturally...They were taken down not to long after this shot was taken.

And here was the best view of the sun i had all season. Mainly because the sun was gone and should not have been there. Naturally i grabbed my camera to go get a bunch of photos. This was when i frostbit my whole hand. Lame.
As you can see in the photo here after a certain point we all switch over to the clear lenses for our goggles. Once the sun gets low enough the orange tint becomes a pain in the tush.
It was crazy beautiful. The sun had this really cool mirage effect going (well that's basically what it was so it makes sense) it is very hard to describe. I've never seen it before and probably never will again, who knows.

Here is a the same shot above essentially just zoomed all the way in. You can see that the sun is just a little sliver that sort of line going through it was shimmering and moving like a mirage or heatwave. Second floor of the station. I was standing on the ob deck when i took these photos here.

You can see the telescope and the sun in this shot.

The stairway into DA (Destination Alpha), the main entrance to the station. DSL seen in the background.
Taken from under the station.

DA's stairwell again

Yup same stairwell

I liked the stairwell ok...

Through the stairwell, a little different than the others ;}
Pic does this view no justice :{

This one does however...

Well i hope you liked the shots, they are the last shots of the sun i think i will be seeing. Hopefully i will be able to get some nice photos of the sky. If not i will just put a bunch of pictures made in mspaint to resemble the sky ;}

One fun little side note for this blog; I've been growing out my nails as of about two weeks ago. This is only the second time in my life that i can remember having any sort of fingernails. It's very very painful to let them grow back in after so many years of being a nailbiter but not as painful as having them it would seem. You see all summer i would walk down the hallway running my fingers down the hall's walls. Well there are these seams every few feet for the wall material, and about 4 days ago i was walking down the hallway running my fingers along the wall as usual when it got caught in a seam. A bright flash of light in my vision and incredible pain the ensued. This was not the first time i had done this, i did it a few days earlier, did i learn my lesson apparently not...This time however i have. My finger was bleeding it cut into my finger tip rolling the skin under my finger nail, it split my finger nail 1/3 of the way up and halfway across the nail. I had blood splattered on my palm and finger ( not a lot but it did splatter). I was this close to cutting off all my nails again... The finger was black from the blood and such for a few days, i recently cut the broken part off and superglued up the cut. It doesn't look too bad right now, just lame. I was going to put a pic or two up, but they were kinda gross. Stupid dang fingernails...

Friday, March 27, 2009

South Pole Sunset...when will it end ;}

So the sun has gone down, i thought it had disappeared completely until yesterday when it was magically back. It's an illusion with a name caused by another thing that I can't remember. Either way it is cool. I was staying up for work and following the sun and taking pictures every hour or so after midnight when it is on the N-NW track around the station. It was really unbelievable how beautiful it was. The sun was really not fully there it was more of a sliver, a shimmering wavy sliver. Very cool let me tell you. As the sun began sitting many people were getting to be quite grumpy or just in a bit of a funk. The impending darkness, the increased cold all that good stuff takes a bit to ingest. I've taken many photos of the sun as it progressed further down and will be slowly adding blog entries with them. I really don't feel like a big ol entry ever ever again. So here are a few to start off with. This is out the exit of the second floor in the A1 wing where krissie and i have our room. This is looking out over the arches with the power plants ever present steam stack making some purdy little puffs.

Looking through the railings from the same exit stairway. One of my favorite shots.

I'm not really sure how many days after the above photos i took these coming pics, i think it was only the next day but i am not too sure about that. The sky was beginning to get very pretty. This first shot is from the same location as the other two.

This is a shot from the roof looking over A2 Wing in the foreground. The little mount doodad you see ther on the edge used to hold a webcam with a live feed folks could get to over the internet when we had satellites available. It kicked the bucket in the beginning of the summer unfortunately.

My new office has a window there with a pretty nice view. It was really cool to be able to watch the sun as it got lower and lower day by day. It was also very cool to have the moon out that window. It's amazing how clear everything is down here, the moon was very very cool as well. This was that night around 12:30am

We have 3 major meals over the summer, sunset dinner, sunrise dinner and umm the fourth of july i think ( not sure on that one). The dinner was amazing, i didn't take very many photos, and forgot to take any photos of the meal itself. Oh well. We had roasted leg of lamb (this was the first time i had ever tried lamb, not sure how i feel about it yet), grilled asparagus, an amazing salad and rolls to start the meal with, dang can't remember what the other side dishes were. That's what i get for not taking photos. It was all very good, but then, oh then they brought out the desert. It was a small mini cupcake sized spice cake with 3 wedges of apples topped with an amazing caramel sauce and then also topped with a sweet cream sauce. Wow, it was quite honestly one of the best deserts i've had anywhere, and i get around... Thank you Francis!! We ate all of this in the nicely decorated galley with the warmth of a crackling fire.

And this was the view out our windows, the pictures do it no justice.

Here is a zoomed in shot of the sunset, Karate Kid anyone?

So i will keep posting more photos of the sunset every few days, and you damn well better enjoy them. I came in last night after taking some photos on the roof with my hand complete frost bitten. I was up there it went totally numb to the point that i couldn't put my out glove on over the liner because i couldn't tell where my fingers where. i had to wrap my arm around the rung of the ladder to get down. I've done this before when i went into the ice tunnels so once you've had it once it's very easy to get it again. And man did i get it. I've never been in so much pain from the cold before. When i got in all of my fingers were white. It was the weirdest most uncomfortable sensation in my finger tips when i was swinging my arm trying to get my hand to warm back up. I can't even begin to describe it. I then was thinking about the incident and asking myself, well was it frostbit or was it frostnip, what's the difference. So once i was able to use my fingers again i looked it up and because quite confused.
There were many conflicting sources of information, and what i found very interesting was that frostnip can occur with temps starting at and below 59 degrees F, and frostbite can occur starting at and below 32 degrees F. So i began to wonder what they had to say about -74 degrees F... I had my hand out of the outer glove for no more than 2 minutes more like a minute and a half and it did this to me...
One of the coolest things about being down here i think is my breath in the freezing outside. It makes the coolest sound when you blow your breath out hard. Have you ever heard a blow torch or maybe even a bunsen burner, that's what it sounds like. So cool.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Holy Cow This Is Soooo Long...

Well I did it; I've caught the blog up for the most part. It should be easier from now on to keep it updated as it won't feel like such a daunting task. Also the internet is up starting at 8:15pm right now so that helps a bunch. With that being said however this entry is freaking enormous...
Never again will I have an entry this large, nor will I ever let it get that far behind *knock on wood* Dates are generally unknown for most of this stuff, but I don't think anyone really is too worried about that :) And it is entirely possible that the timeline here is completely off. Either way, here goes.

Here is just a random pic of the carp/siding work that was done on the station. It was really weird for me to get here to the pole and see the station black. All the pics I saw of it were well the color of plywood, I had no idea it was waiting on siding. And now this pic is quite outdated as nearly all of the facing is completed.
I left off with Christmas dinner, well after dinner, maybe before hmm dun remember; I gave Krissie her Christmas present. I spent a ton of time making the wrapping paper myself; measuring and aligning making sure that when I wrapped the present it would turn out, well as you see here. She is obsessed with Mario, hence the paper, and the excitement ;}

Oh aint we just the cutest?

Yup, Dr. Pepper. What a weird present you may be thinking to yourself, well stop thinking; you are wrong. You see we don't have Dr. Pepper here at the South Pole. Travesty, I know. I had Ben call down to McMurdo and talk to the folks at the store to see if we could Guard Mail Dr. Pepper, they said sure. Well we told them it was for someone’s birthday, and blah blah blah, anywho I gave them my CC info, and they Guard Mailed it down. She was quite surprised :}

The next day was the annual "Race Around the World". This is a race held every year on Christmas where folks have the option of either racing seriously (winner gets a trip to McMurdo to compete in their race thing), or to ride in a vehicle, heavy equipment, etc, or to just walk/jog it at their own pace, or dress up, create a chariot wear costumes, you name it. Basically just have fun.

Now I would like to now interject my little protest. You see they do not time the vehicles during this race; this is just down right rude. We not only won the race in our vehicle, we kicked everyone’s butt! Granted we were the only ones actually racing while in a vehicle, and granted we were the only ones making the Vehicle Maintenance folks angry with our driving, but hey we deserve some sort of recognition. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to squeeze a Piston Bully in-between a Dozer and Folks running on the trails, very tricky maneuvers. I don't even think we hit anyone! We also got kicked off the track and told to park the vehicle as we kept going after our allotted 3 laps. 3 laps pshh not enough, we wanted to get everyone a chance to drive the thing for a lap; unfortunately we were only able to get 4 of 5 folks a chance to drive the course. Oh yes one other note that belongs in my formal protest. Not only did we lap people, make record time, look awesome doing it; we also did chinese fire drills after ever lap. We all jumped out of the bully from the front seats and the back and raced around the thing...As you can plainly see we were robbed and deserve some sort of recognition!

Here is the course for the race:
Now I’ve gotten a bit ahead of myself here, first off I need to tell you about the night before the race. I spent 14 hours the night before getting everything prepared for my masterpiece, (which ticked Ben off consequently as he had other plans...sorry dude but I had a vision) I whipped up a keen sketch of the bully as Santa’s sleigh. I don't have that awesome sketch anymore unfortunately so you will just have to believe me when I say it was umm keen. So the plan called for reindeer mounted at the front and presents and decorations on top to represent Santa’s bag o' gifts. The first thing I needed to do was make the reindeer. I learned rather quickly that I do not know how to draw reindeer. Krissie spent most of the night helping me get everything done, she's awesome. Here we are cutting out cardboard shapes that loosely resembled reindeery type things.
I also had some help from Mallon, and Sara. Thanks folks! Both Krissie and Sara kept telling me oh no don't be upset they look good, they look fine, god I hate it when people try and make me feel better and don't just come out and say, umm those look like some sort of sick dog, or maybe a sheep. Thankfully Mallon was there to play that roll ;}.

Now you may be asking why I would have spent 14 hours doing this, how could it have possibly taken that long? Well let me tell you, it is incredibly difficult to do any sort of carpentry type work in an electronics shop... I spent so much time scrounging around the station looking for parts and tools it was ridiculous. I eventually found an old broken pallet that I could steal wood from for the mount; I found a worn hacksaw in our shop and a crow bar. I could not find a real saw; a claw hammer or anything that remotely looked like it should be used with wood. Try taking nails out of a board with a crow bar...not the easiest or most fun thing in the world to do. While I finished all the reindeer, Krissie worked on wrapping boxes for presents and then decorating. We made a few trips out to where the bullies were parked so I could first see if this was even going to be possible. Yes I decided to check this out after I had most of the work done...
Then I realized I didn't bring any sort of measuring device, and then blah blah, I ended up having to go out there 6 times total. This was a 10 minute walk out to the things each way. Once I was satisfied with my measurements, I decided to try and find the wood I needed, yes again after I decided I was going to do this. Found the old pallet, fought and kicked with it in the shop until I finally said screw it, it's 4 in the morning no one will know if I go down to the carp shop and use the equipment. So I did. Then I couldn't find any wood screws, only sheet metal...Then I couldn't find anything to mount the dang thing with. Bunch o’ problems let me tell ya. I eventually went down to the UT shop and stole a bunch of nuts/washers/bolts, shhhhh. And then when I had no energy left whatsoever we had to go mount the dang stuff. When I took the mount out to the bully I was feeling pretty good. The mount looked solid; everything finally seemed to be going right. HAA!! So when I got out to the bully and looked down to where I was going to test fit the mount I noticed something. I noticed something very much not good. I had been so dang sleepy that I failed to realize that the place I was measuring and building this mount for was angled...

The dang thing was angled down (the face of it was pointing towards the snow, not straight ahead). Thankfully and luckily I built my mount to run at an upward angle to give the "illusion" that the reindeer were beginning to fly, taking off if you will. I thought I was quite clever. Now of all the crap that went wrong this was the most mind boggling piece that seemed to work out in my favor. The angle that the plate on the bully was almost exactly the same angle on my mount, so they cancelled each other out. I am talking so close that when they came together the mount looked to go out perfectly straight... oy vay!

Victory! Now moving on.

That red nosed sheep with flames coming out of its head was Rudolph!
Oh crap, forgot the best part. Tripp went out to warm up the bully and get it prepared so he could later bring it over so we could mount the stuff. One problem...wouldn't start. The bully we were given to use would not start...

Did I mention how much time I spent working on this little project? THE FREAKING THING DIDN"T START!!!! AHHHHHH!!!! I was far too tired to be mad; it was quite comical to me really. After all the crap that I went through all night to get the thing done, it was only natural for this to happen. So I walked out to the bully again, I was able to get it started thankfully. It would have been unfortunate to see the station burn down on Christmas and all.

So anyway, here's Tripp getting the presents all setup on top in the roof rack.
And here are the 3 sides of presents in Santa's bag
And here it is in all its glory!!
We all decided that we needed to wear our Big Reds and Santa hats, well most of us anyway, Ben was very angry and refused, meh what can you do. The rest of us look cool in our Santa outfits ;}
Going clock wise starting at Rudolph we have Tripp, Ben, Krissie, Devon, and myself.
And here I am disassembling the rig.

Fancy smancy...note the two angles countering each other and the straight resulting mount :}
Cause I’m coolAnd everyone who participated received one of these bad boys
For new years we were to have a concert, and various drunken fun. I busted out these two shirts I ordered in for Krissie and me. Now I know you are thinking wow you two are disgustingly cute and incredibly dorky, maybe even thinking lame, well yer just jealous. This pic is super dark because we were trying to take pictures of the lights on the shirts.
You see the shirts were bought cause they are pretty much Zelda life meters; they even have a special little feature that make us even more disgustingly cute. When we are close to one another, or get within a certain range all the hearts (life bars) on the shirts are fully lit. When we walk away from each other the lights begin to turn off until you only have half of them lit. God I’m such a nerd and I love it!! Everyone loved our shirts :}
Here is one of the three bands that played that night. We didn't go to any of the shows, not sure what we did, I think we all just sat in my old IT office and chitty chatted. We did go in however to see the dance crew
A group of folks had been working together, probably for a month working on a show, recital, thing. And they were all quite good. It was great. Here is the T-qualizer I ordered as well, modeled and worn that night by Mr. Benjamin "Jazz Hands" Burke. Ok not his nickname, that's just for if he reads this thing ;}
After the dance thinger one of the firefighters asked me if I would go out and take a group photo of them by the pole, naturally I said buzz off fire boy!

Here is a cool shot I took that night (1 am btw) with the geo pole, the dome, and our Christmas tree.
Here’s a close-up of the tree, perdy awesome.
And here's a group shot of the firefighters (current ones at new years, they rotate every 3 weeks between here and Mactown) and their ARFF
The next day they moved the pole to its new geographic home (it shifts 30ish ft a year, I think that's right anyway?)
Personally I think the new pole topper thing is quite ugly, but eh to each their own I guess. I don’t have a pic of it actually, that should tell you something as I take a picture of every dang thing I see…

Thought I’d throw in an intermission :}




So where to next, oh yes we went down to the ice tunnels. Odd to only go down now right? Meh I was in no rush they were going no where. It was quite cool in there, no pun in tended…or was it? They are well just a tunnel carved out of the ice, snow really, but really really hard snow. You need to check out with comms when you go down there and give them an estimate as to when you will be back in case something happens. They do have cctv down in the tunnels at various points which is also kinda cool. I always wanted to call in a panic call to them and make things flash in front of the cameras, alien-esque and pretend to be pulled off camera. Sounded cool, never did it oh well. Anywho, it’s really cold down there, it’s -60F pretty much year round which is pretty cold. I didn’t really think it would be a big deal personally, I later found out otherwise…Here is Krissie’s back as we go down the tunnel. There were 5 of us that went down there total: Tripp, Erin, Ben, Krissie and yours truly

There was a random hole in the wall right towards the beginning of the little journey, and naturally one of us had to get into it. Here is Tripp demonstrating
Like I said it is pretty much always -60F and one of the things to do is get your photo with the giant thermometer that is down there. I took one photo this where I didn’t smile (normal for me of course) Krissie complained so I gave her my what up dog lame pose as seen here :}
Krissie naturally looked far cuter than I, but that’s really just due to the lighting IMO…
Throughout the tunnels there are escape hatches that go to the surface, kinda cool, kinda scary thinking hmm why would they need that. Then you here the dozers driving over head and you remember where each and every one of these things are as you pass them…
There are a few things carved into the walls of the ice tunnels left by various groups of folks over the years. One of the most famous is the hog’s head left by the fist crew to inhabit the new station, here is be modeling with the piggy.
And throughout the tunnels there are maps letting you know just where you are in the tunnels. Oh one thing to note, the pic of Ben and the piggy above shows him with a flashlight, there are normally lights that you can flip on in the tunnels but we chose to go in the dark and only go by flashlight, more interesting that way. Well actually Ben knew there were lights none of the rest of us did until we left and he told us yah it’s cooler with flashlights though. Oh Benji…
I had another pic here but decided it may offend some folks and/or get me in trouble. You see there are various tunnels that sorta go nowhere, and at the end of them some folks were nice enough to print out some little posters that had well, the jist of what they had on them is you be screwed this tunnel goes nowhere :}
Now the other staple item to see is the pike, the frozen fish that has quite an interesting story behind it, many rumors go around about it. I have no idea what is real and what is not. There is a little letter there with it telling the story of the pike, but who knows. The jist of that story is that someone somehow got it from McMurdo down to the Pole in one piece and now it has a new home here with us.
Funny little note, Ben refused to touch it, I however did not feel the same ;}
Here is the group of us with Mr. Pike, not to be confused with Mr. Pike, my sitcom buddy over the summer :}. It’s awesome trying to take pictures in an enclosed environment where every breath you take fills up the space and totally blocks out the photos. As you can see in our photo. All the haze is our breath.
We went on to various other spots, and then were heading back out when Ben and I realized we missed a couple of tunnels, he wanted to go check them out so I followed him while the rest of the group went on out. This was at the end of one of the tunnels; these are the infamous poop-cicles. That pipe to his immediate left was an old sewage pipe and the steam coming off of it floated up to the ceiling froze, and made cool little poop-cicles.
This is what the tunnels looked like when you turned the lights on, this is the same tunnel as the poop-cicles.
A few times throughout the year we had “James Brown Bingo”, James Brown was the executive chef during the summer, and apparently he was known for his bingo nights every year. I thought sure why not I have nothing better to do. The first night was hilarious, and they just kept getting better every time. This was the second to last time he did the bingo, and this time he dressed up as William Wallace (braveheart) while Jane Foxx dressed up as his wench. He likes to get loud and scream behind people when the number 69 comes up, it scares the crap out of the poor soul he is behind…

We were offered ice that night as well, ice from one of the ice cores…have no idea how old it was 100yrs? 1000yrs? Old either way. Krissie wanted a shot of her using it with her Dr. Pepper, so I obliged :}
Brian (comms tech, a.k.a Churchman) is shown here playing with 10 cards, well there are ten cards there he’s only playing with 8 at this time.
He whipped all 10 out for the final bingo game which is always blackout and is always for the cash prize. You see you pay $1 for every board you get, that night the prize was $250 I think?
At the beginning of bingo night we were all told that there were surprises in store this night. Oh and surprises there were! You see the whole time we had bingo night going, the lovely little gingerbread house that Jon “The Baker” made for Christmas was sitting out on it’s own little table. I thought that odd, but whatever, it’s the South Pole. We do what we want ;}. Then all of a sudden after the final bout for the prize money was over (oh yeah there was a tie and they decided to arm wrestle for it, and epic moment let me tell you) anyway after this bout James Brown grabs this giant potato smasher he had sitting at the bingo table drops the mic and runs screaming towards the gingerbread house (which consequently Brian and I were standing right next to) and proceeds to smash the thing into smithereens, which also smacked Brian and I. Freaked us out let me tell you. Then Jon “The Baker” came out with a rolling pin and started smashing it up even more. Holy crap it was awesome. Thankfully Devon (Mr. Pike) had his little camera rolling the whole time and I have proof of this moment :}

Holy cow this thing is sooooo long…



(Sad attempt at Mario via BEEPS and BOOPS)


Really I know that no one is actually going to read this whole thing, but it makes me feel better knowing that I will be caught up and can move on…

Now where was I? Oh yes so I decided to winter here…I decided to take the job as work order scheduler down here during the summer. I originally wanted to be here for one year time, both summer and winter. I wanted so badly to see the night sky and the auroras. There was really only one job that I could apply for at the time and it was the W.O. scheduler. Not something I was exactly excited about, but it would get me here during the winter. After I went through the process of finally getting the position, IT wanted me to try and take the comms tech job over the winter, well Henry my boss at the time did anyway. I naturally said of course, I don’t have the experience but I can figure it out. That and be trained by Brian until he leaves. Long story short I was bouncing back and forth, higher ups said it would be unsafe, I didn’t get it (would have made and extra $10ishK over the winter if I had) and now am here as work order scheduler, which means I won’t be done here until November and I will have spent a year here at the pole by the time I am outta here. Well that is the hope anyway, I may get shipped out sooner, we will see.

Now since I was going to winterover, I was given a week off that I could have gone out to McMurdo and spent the time. I chose not to, I had no reason to go there, I knew no one and everything I wanted to do and see was closed off for the season. So I stayed here at the pole for a week and watched movies, read and slept. Man I slept a lot if was nice. So then they had us all do our blood work, sent down a shrink checked us out, took the test passed, but still had to do dental. The dentist came down, she was quarantined with the flu, medevac’d outta here and I was seemingly screwed. Took them a while to figure out what they were going to do. What they finally decided was that they would send me to McMurdo for one day to get the dental exam over with. So I flew out to Mcmurdo at 4pm I think, got there 8ish PM maybe and then had to go see the dentist the next morning at 8am, then fly back to the pole at 12pm…Not exactly something high on my to do list.

Erin and I both flew out to Mactown, she was going there for R&R as she just got hired on for winter season. So when we got there, we ate, ran into Michiel (Me-kel). He came up from Mactown for a week to replace Tripp as sys admin while Tripp was off on R&R/medical leave. Cool guy. Anywho, met him and he offered to give us a tour of where he worked. This is a shot outside of the entrance.
I then decided to go peruse the area.
While out walking I ran into something I hadn’t seen in a long time, running water outside! So weird to see again…
I decided to go and see Scott’s hut. So I made my little trek out there and ran into some very beautiful scenery.
Once I made it out there I realized that it was locked and that you had to go somewhere, dunno where to get a key or possibly a tour from someone. So lame…
Here’s the dead seal outside of the hut, better than nothing I suppose.
There was also this whale thinger made from iron and such which was kinda cool.
The first time I was in Mactown I was only there for 18ish hours so I didn’t get to do anything. I really wanted to go up ob hill and was worried that I may not get to ever do it since it was entirely possible that I could get a straight through flight when I go home which means I just plane hop. So I was very glad to have the chance to and climb up ob hill. This is ob hill; the cross on the top is barely visible.
I really didn’t know how to get up there, I was told that the direct route that you can see in the above photo was closed off, so I found a little map thing and went off walking. Right after I came back from Scott’s hut, had a mocha and filled my water bottle.

Found these on the way up there, not sure if they were done in Mactown or if they were done before they got there.
I ended up going off on this little trail that I was unsure where it went. I decided to just follow it and see where it would take me. This was the closest I got to the Kiwi’s base while on foot (we drove sorta through it everytime we came in from the plane)
While on the trail I came a cross a few really odd looking rocks that seemed completely out of place.
Ooh purdy
I was quite glad I took this trail that was leading me to who knows where. I actually got to see some wildlife, as boring as they were I still can say I saw them :} I wasn’t sure if this guy was sunning himself or if he was dying or what was going on exactly. While on the trail I kept seeing these little dark splotches out on the ice all over and I couldn’t figure out what they were. My camera’s zoom wasn’t adequate enough to get me close enough in to see what the stuff was. Then I came across this fellow. And I knew they were seals.
He didn’t move much but I stayed and watched him for a while, and then all of a sudden another little guy popped his head up out of the water in front of me. He eventually climbed up out of the water to join the other deal in sunbathing/death I don’t know which.
I stayed watching the two of them and a skua that eventually showed up for a good 45 minutes, this is what I was sitting and watching, I could have stayed there longer but I wanted to get up the hill as it was getting late. This was around 1am I think.
Here’s the little skua who hung out as well.
This was the first time I had ever seen any bit of ice under the sea, and it was so incredibly beautiful. The picture does it no justice. It was the most amazing blue I had ever seen. This has made me want to go scuba diving near some icebergs; I know they do that somewhere on this little planet I just need to find out where.
Ahh a friendly site, I was circling around ob hill apparently, here was the trail and Mactown getting closer.
I just really like this photo as it looks like some alien thinger out in the distance shooting up a light beam.
Getting closer to where I freaking started…
There was a cool seemingly abandoned building that I ran across.
Just another cool pic looking back on where I came. I contemplated walking back to the seals to see if they were still there or not. I finally decided screw it I’m getting tired and I still have the trek up the hill so I turned back around and continued on.
The trek up the ill really sucked while wearing Big Red. It was the only coat I brought so I guess I really had no choice. Also my worn tennis shoes were not the ideal choice for footwear but whatevs. It wasn’t a bad little climb at all; I was quite impressed that I was breathing so well doing it. Living at 11k for 3 months is sure helpful when you go back down to sea level and do this type of exercise. I was getting closer and closer the little cross teasing me onward.
I really wanted to go climb the hill across from me, it looked purdy
You’ll notice there are no folks out and about in the pic of the town here; that’s because it was around 2am at this point.
Finally made it, the view is breathtaking and totally indescribable.
I decided to walk along the coast once I got back down, it too was indescribable. While I was walking along it a seal popped its head up out of the water for a breath of air. He was no more than 20 ft from me, quite cool. I waited for a bit but he never came back.
Here’s a map of the area and the treks to various spots. The Ob Hill loop was closed I learned after I came back…
And here is the route I took overlaid in white. I was pretty dang tired when I got back.





So made it back to the pole all in one piece thankfully. The dental appointment was interesting to say the least, they didn’t have my records, had to get them guardmailed over, her equipment was broke, the repair dude was there while she was fiddling with my teeth, eventually got it working, then got out of there…

Not long after I returned the folks over at SPT (South Pole telescope) had a get together. There I witnessed my first outdoor toilet fully equipped with foam seat. The sign there on the wall was pretty darn funny.
When we were going to leave there was a small hiccup. Someone jacked the van… Here is a shot of Billy standing where the van should have been. It eventually made its way back; someone just took some folks back while we were inside. We even had the person in comms do a station wide all call, “If you happen to be the one who stole the van could you please bring it back” something like that, too long ago for me to remember, it was funny though.
At some point we had these trucks pull in to the pole, they were the support team for some race that was going on. We were all a little PO’d when they planted all their flags and such over by the pole…We also had some beakers come in with this cool giant balloon. They were doing something with air samples and would raise and lower it whenever we had flights coming.
We also had ice sculptures that were pretty cool. Some were better than others; here is Calvin and Hobbes done by Patrick Cullis (Cully). Many of us were ticked about which sculpture won the contest. Let’s just say it helps to be a cute girl down at the pole…
An exit sign pointing down with a hole (you could sorta get into it) won, while clever and funny there were a couple that I thought were better. The Egyptian? coffin (I don’t have a pic) was incredibly detailed. Meh whatev
Ben and Tripp decorated the office with a Mexican pueblo theme. It was pretty awesome :}
We had another movie night and this time we had Nitro Ice Cream. It’s ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, pretty dang cool.
After oh 3ish months I finally went out to see Krissie launch a balloon. I went out there with Churchman. Here she is looking cute as usual in the BIF (Balloon Inflation Facility). During the summer Meteorology launched 2 balloon’s a day, one at 10am and one at 10pm.
There are ginormous freezer doors on the BIF so that they can inflate the balloons and walk them outside. Brian is seen here in the pic for a size reference.
On the way back I noticed this old tractor getting ready to be shipped out of the pole. How I missed it coming in is beyond me.
I eventually received my humidifier from home and naturally had to decorate it. His name is Frank. Frank the tank, though while he was wearing his sombrero he liked to be called Francisco.
Sometime before the last bingo night the cargo folks found a box of packaged diced bacon. It was I think 28 years old. There were a few folks who tried it; I was not one of them however. They did say it tasted fine.
Towards the end of the season Sara and Andrew threw an Ice cream jamboree I believe they called it. They made some more Nitro Ice cream and had all kinds a fixins’ This was around 1am mind you as they were swing shift workers.
There were only a couple of days left before Brian and Claude left us, so I had everyone go out for a group photo. This was S.P.I.T. (South Pole IT); Krissie was an honorary member as she was in our office almost as much as we were. Starting in the back row we have Benjamin Burke, Devon Pike, Henry Malmgren, Me, Tripp Whalen. Then on the bottom row we have Krissie Shiroma, Claude Clegg, and Brian Churchman. You also note they are a bunch of puny things in full gear. I wore my hoody as it was a bit chilly out ;}
They left two days after the photo, and then Ben was to leave not long after that. Here we are walking out with him. The three in the middle are Tripp, Ben and Laurie. There were a bunch of our friends that left on this flight.
Here’s Ben and Laurie surrounded by all the other folks waiting to leave.
Every time I see this picture I picture Ben saying “Hey kid, I’m a computer”. He didn’t actually say that, but there are a few folks who know what I mean.
Then the last of our friends to leave was Devon. Though this was not the last flight yet.
Finally the last flight arrived, bought dang time! For the two weeks leading up to this flight I would yell out “Get Off My Continent” every time a plane took off with more folks leaving the ice.
The last group of folks waiting to leave are actually not in the photo I don’t think. There was a group of us waiting to send off the last of the summer folks as you can see. It was funny because when they were ready to load the plane the dude kept waving us all on, he eventually just gave up when we all ignored him. We were not the ones leaving jerk! The last folks to leave were the firefighters and fuelies, and cargoey folks.
Last stand at the fuel shack
The last of the firefighters heading into the plane
All boarded and ready to get the heck off my continent! They did a standard flyover, many of us were not expecting it to be so darn cold, or to be out there so darn long and were getting very very cold. Stupid plane was taking forever to do the flyover. I ran my but back inside immediately after the shot to warm up.
And this is what I found when I got inside, beautiful isn’t it? Nobody in the halls, man it was weird the first couple of weeks without all the people in the halls. You would never see the halls so empty during the summer.
Once summer was officially over, we needed to get paths flagged to the various remote work areas. Kinda cool.
While taking the earlier photo of the flagged path to DSL I noticed this little thing on the deck. I guess it was fairly new. It was completely wrong apparently no one cared to set the time on it correctly. Mainly this photo was placed in the blog to show you how I normally go outside to the deck and look around, in a hoody, pants of some sort (these were workout pants, quite flimsy) and my crocs. You can’t tell here, but I have no socks on. Gets a little chilly standing out there like that ;}
I have a surveyors measuring stick thinger that I use to measure from the top of the snow to the top of the flag.
My eyelids were freezing up and freezing to my hat/gaiter again, it was fun. My eyes were so frozen however that I could not see out of them very well and would use the clipboard as a marker for the measuring.
Taking a little break to modify the printout I made for jotting down the measurements
Back to work.
And finally this is what I looked like after being outside for 2 hours doing this. It was an incredibly warm day with little to no wind. A toasty -48F