Antarctica Dispatch

Journal of my Antarctic experience working to support the United States Antarctic Program.

Surise - Spring Equinox


According to Wikipedia the Equinox occurs when the sun is directly over the equator. In our case, it signifies 'Sunrise'. A few days ago it peaked above the horizon, and it looked like it was perculating there.

In any case it was cause for celebration. Two whole pigs were roasted, the galley was decorated, and I brought out my tropical shirt again.

Talk Like a Pirate Day


Hmm, I don't know if I even need to mention this day, just go to the website below. In any case, this was started by two guys who basically wanted to foster a 'care-free' attitude which they thought was emulated by the 'pirate life'. One of the guys here brought down their book, which mentions priates in Antarctica. I leafed through it early in the season.

I had no idea this pirate thing was so big. Check out There's even an entry for the South Pole.

Coincidentally I brought down the pirate flag used in our Kinetics races. I flew it at the Pole marker and it's now decorating the galley.



The first plane hit at 08:45 EST, which makes it 12:45 AM on September 12 here at the South Pole. We didn't hold any service or moment of silent. About that time everyone is already silent in bed. I remember my mom telling me she remembers where she was when President Kennedy was shot (way before my time). There are two events I recall where I was and what I was doing:
1) The Gulf War (1991)
2) 9/11/2001

I was on my way to work in Downtown Denver on the bus when someone mentioned the Twin Towers were hit. Being in Denver I think many of us didn't know what the person was talking about. It wasn't until I got into work that I learned the whole story.

My parents were flying out of Denver that day, so I called them and told them they probably wouldn't be flying today or until the end of the week for that matter. I think it was a few hours into work, that the powers that be decided to evacuate our building. We all went home, and for the next few days we reflected on the day's events and were awed by the silence in the skies.

Sunrise Art Show


The cardboard window coverings started coming down after months of use keeping the station light from interfering with sensitive experiments and also helping with insulation. The artistic coverings in the galley also had to go, but to allow for a transitional phase instead of just pulling the shades aside, letting in the flood of light, we had an art show.

I remember in grade school doing fingerpainting and making pottery. I can't imagine what went through my mother's head when I would hand her my latest creation, and she'd smile and say how wonderful it was, while trying to figure out what it was.

Some people don't have that problem. Some people used wood (making bowls, cups, and frames), others used metal, and a few turned to weaving.

Fun and Games


Another two-day weekend to help us recuperate. Only one more left. Sigh.......

My plan was to sleep and read my Lonely Planet guidebook to plan for travels once off the 'ice'. Instead we had a plethora of activities, starting with the Scottish Games on Saturday where 'meat pie' was eaten, 'scotch' was brought out to drink, 'Scottish Dancing' was watched, and the 'Caber Toss' was performed.

One of the guys tried to trace everyones geneology back to Scotland. I did find my family crest on my mother's side which goes back to England so I guess I can count myself lucky unlike a few who came from other backgrounds than Great Britain.

An assortment of Scotch with myself & cook Michael Rehm

The late afternoon brought fourteen of us down to the 'Dodgy Bastards Bar' for the second 2006, South Pole Poker Tournament. The buy-in was $40. I think I was the 7th one out. Oh well, a good learning experience. I guess I need to watch 'Rounders' again.

Sunday was no better as I joined another Fantasy Football League one of the guys down here started. As if I wasn't already trying to figure one out already, I had to go ahead and add more extra curricular activities to my plate. Just shoot me! At least we used an online league through Yahoo Sports.

I finished the day off my playing 'HALO 2' into the wee hours of Monday morning. At least it's out of my system! I gave it back to the guy who brought it down and told him not to give it to me again.

Fantasy Football


Well it's slowly getting brighter and brighter outside. I got an email from a buddy back in Colorado to join his Fantasy Football league. Today was the draft. I haven't kept up with the teams and players for years, not to mention this was the first time joining a league.

My introduction to fantasy sports was working a few months for a small firm in Boulder, Sportsware. I knew that by participating I'd 1) learn a lot about Fantasy Sports, 2) get caught up on all the NFL players, and 3) see much of my free time spirited away.

A little over 2 hours later the draft was done! It was all done online, with people throughout the US. I of course was the celebrity being thousands of miles away. I got a few good players, but I hit the 'auto pilot' at the end, thinking the satellite link would be down before finishing. I got two extra QBs which I later dropped for some free agents. We'll see how it goes especially since $$ is involved.