Antarctica Dispatch

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

Station Opening


It finally arrived! One other guy and myself shaved our beards as a means to 'rally' the planes here. I guess it worked because four planes touched down unloading personnel and taking away a few Winter Overs. I collected $10 on a bet that the planes would land today.

In retrospect it was 50 years ago when the first plane landed at the South Pole. At 8:34 PM the US Navy R4D Que Sera Sera 'skied to a halt atop the Antarctic ice sheet at 90 degrees South latitude. For more on that event and information on the south Pole station, click here.

Since the temperature was about -48 C, and the LC-130s leave their engines running to prevent them from freezing up, contrail form. With no visibility the mechanical loader operators cannot get to the rear of the plane to unload/load cargo. Instead a combat offload is done (pushing the pallets out the back while the plane is taxiing) to get the cargo off the plane.

It was strange seeing familiar faces returning for the summer as well as FNGs looking 'green' and clueless. Someone said, "We're no longer Winter Overs, we're now 'Left Overs'!"


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