Antarctica
McMurdo Station



McMurdo is an interesting place. The buildings are scattered up a hill from the bay, and vary greatly.

The one advantage of ending up in the room I'm in, is that it is the same building as the Galley. It also contains the store, the ATM, and is the center of town. My work is just across the street, only about a 100 yard walk.

Saturday was the first day at work, started about +10oF. It was a great day. My boss had arrived on the same flight I had. He and I spent much of the morning getting paper work type things done. In order to drive a vehicle you have to get an Antarctic drivers license. None of the vehicles down here have emergency brakes, they freeze when used. Instead they have a device called a micro brake which sets the standard brake on the vehicle. I also had to get a snowcat drivers license, a common form of transportation. We scheduled the other courses I needed to be able to travel outside of town.

A quick tour of some of the other areas we work with, and some of the equipment around town, and we were back to the shop. The Communications Shop is a small area in a warehouse building. We share the building with the heated food storage downstairs, and the information systems warehouse upstairs. The Computer Techs also have a small shop upstairs.

It didn't take long to get into the swing of things with setting up a radio phone for a 'seal shack' out on the ice, in the afternoon. There were a couple of seals out on top of the ice, and we got a good look at about 30 yards from them. Any time an animal reacts to your presence it is considered harassment, and they will fire a person for it, and there are U.S. laws that apply, and you can be fined for it. Pluse the fact that an animal that big deserves a little respect. So... we keep our distance from them.

It turns out that they moved the seal shack to the back side of the island from where it has been in years past. Big Razorback Island is between the shack and our radio repeater, so we are unable to get the phone working that day. We scout some choices for where we can place the equipment, and how to run wire back to the shack.

Big Razorback Island is about an hour out of town by snowcat, plenty of time to look around the bay, and enjoy the scenery. We passed several glaciers going out and back. As a matter of fact the directions we got to the camp, were to turn on the first right after the large glacier toe.





He even traveled with an entourage.
I found Elvis! He showed up at the carpenter shop party that evening.
The party was great, as much because it was a good party, as the fact the weather was fantastic. The Carpenter Shop is located high on the hill, and has a small deck on the bay side of the building.
The view was spectacular, the weather was clear and there was no wind. Even with the temperature about 15oF the sun was shining down and it was pleasant out on the porch for short periods without a coat. They were grilling steaks, and the story was that there would be Antarctic cod later.
They kept a well stocked bar. Strawberry Margaritas were the poison of choice.

I didn't stay long, I was coming down with a cold, and headed back to the room.

Although they list a sunset and sunrise, it doesn't really get dark, it lasts about 4 hours, before it rises again, this night.


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11/1/98