Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thursday in Antarctica

It's Thursday morning, almost 6:30am. I start work at 7:00am. I am dressed in my insulated overalls, insulated work boots and long johns. I am sitting in the computer lounge in building 155. The dining hall is in this building so it's by far the busiest building on campus. It's still pretty quiet. There are plenty of folks in the hallway that appear to have just gotten out of bed; but plenty of night shift workers too, who have been up all night and their working day is now coming to an end. Folks in the computer lounge are mostly checking emails or facebook, keeping in touch with the rest of the world. Some are searching the internet for after-ice travel plans.

There are lots of new faces in town: folks who have been in field camps/South Pole station all season and are just in town for a few days on their way home, folks who just arrived to help unload the supply vessel, and the first of the "winter-over-ers" that will be staying all winter.

The post office has advised us to tell friends and family to not mail us anything else, as it may not arrive before we leave. We have just less than three weeks until we are outta here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Friday mornings

It's Friday morning, about 6:30am, Alex and I just ate breakfast. Alex started working immediately after breakfast and I start in about an hour. I will mostly be counting pipes and cross-referencing numbers today. Alex was in charge of making sure the food didn't run out on the serving line.

Monday, January 19, 2009


It's windy outside, 22 knots. The temperature is 14F, but with the windchill it is said to feel like -2F.

Last I saw her, Alex was busy washing plates and getting ready to start washing pots. I've been working outside all day, cutting the ends off of wooden boxes so I can count how many pipes are inside.

We went for a short hike last weekend and watched several movies. Alex did some knitting and reading. We are both tired and enjoyed the lazy Sunday.

The doctor on campus is a former Peace Corps training director. He's been super helpful, guiding us through the Peace Corps medical/dental process.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Coffee House

It's Sunday evening, Alex and I are sitting in the coffee house (aka wine bar). Alex is being responsible and writing letters to friends and family in the states. I am mostly staring off into space, people watching and complaining about my sore leg muscles. The coffee house is very cozy, it's all wood paneling on the walls and with some old-school wooden skis and sleds for decorations. There aren't any windows and the lighting is dim, giving us a chance to escape the sunlight that seems to be wearing on us more and more as the time goes along.

We have a window in our room and a black cloth that gets velcro-ed onto the window at night, but it still lets in plenty of light and, thus, never really feels dark.

Alex started knitting a hat today, her first hat attempt. She's using some beautiful yarn she bought in Asheville before we set-off for the ice.

We've decided on New Zealand and Australia for our honeymoon. Doing mostly long walks, probably more time in New Zealand than Australia.

Alex saw a penguin last week, pretty exciting.

There are a lot more seals since the ice breaker arrived.

Monday, January 12, 2009


The icebreaker arrived today, it's pretty exciting, kind of the beginning of the end. the Oden will spend the next two weeks or so breaking a big enough channel so that the fuel tanker and the supply ship can bring in everything campus will need for next season.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sleeping outside in Antarctica...

I never in my life thought I'd come to Antarctica...I certainly never thought I would ever spend the night outside in Antarctica! Two days ago, I got the e-mail that I was selected to go on a boondoggle. A boondoggle is a morale trip for folks on station that aren't scientists. It's a big treat to be able to go on a boondoggle. I really wanted to go dive tending or learn how to drive a snow mobile, but I was chosen to go on happy camper...a bit of a misnomer.
I can't say I was too psyched to go, but I was really happy to get out of the galley for a few days. So I went and I had more fun than I thought I would. The weather was gorgeous during the day while we built an ice block wall (there were ten of us so it took a long time) and set up camp. This crazy fog rolled in later on and it became condition 2 (fourth picture) shows the fog rolling in). We couldn't see the outhouse from our camp! I slept really well considering I was sleeping outside in Antarctica.

Lucas and I went to our redeployment meeting and it's looking like we are leaving on February 18th! So soon! It's both really exciting and really sad as we're pretty sure we won't come back here.

Lucas and I got our Peace Corps medical packet (thanks mom and dad) and we'll hopefully be able to do most everything in Antarctica. This is the last big hoop we have to jump!!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! all my love--Alex

Friday, January 9, 2009

Snow Craft 1

Alex is attending the Snow Craft 1 training tonight. It's a two-day/one-night training, all about what to do if one was to get stranded for a night away from campus. The course is nicknamed 'Happy Camper'. Alex is learning how to build a snow wall to protect her from the wind, how to cook when its so cold, how to use the radios, identifying and treating hypothermia, things like that. The course started at 8:30 this morning and will finish up ~3:00 tomorrow. Alex will sleep on the permanent ice shelf tonight (which is like a glacier on top of the ocean), either in a tent or some kind of snow structure she'll learn how to build.

Good times.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

February 18th

Alex is in Yoga right now. She should be finishing up pretty soon. I'm watching the news in the dorm lounge. I spent the morning driving the forklift, mostly moving big spools of wire; and spent the afternoon on paperwork.

Alex and I found out today that we will be leaving the ice on February 18th (if the weather cooperates and supervisors don't change their mind, either of which is entirely possible). We have to attend a training tomorrow to learn everything we need to do before we leave.

The icebreaker should be reaching the ice edge this Friday, which means we should be seeing the first of the three ships by the middle of next week.

It snowed today, it seems like it's been a while since the last time it snowed.

Friday, January 2, 2009

It's Saturday!

It's Saturday and another working week is almost complete! Alex and I have started counting down our time left on the ice. We have ~47 days left.

The temperature reached a high of 39F yesterday, looking about the same for today.

Our friend, Evan - who works at the South Pole, sent us a six-pack of beer that he brewed at the pole. They get all of their water at the pole from melting the snow that's there. I'm pretty excited for the south pole brew.