If all goes to plan, this evening the SuperTIGER recovery team will be sitting in Amundsen-Scott station at the South Pole. Internet connectivity will be limited there, but I certainly hope to update the blog in some capacity over the coming days. I also hope I won't be suffering the ill effects of being at altitude!
In Christchurch, we were issued "Diamox" (Acetazolamide) tablets which we are supposed to start taking the day before leaving for the Pole, these pills are expected to reduce the probability of getting Acute Mountain Sickness. The South Pole is at an elevation of 9,300 feet (2835 meters) but feels like 11,000 (3350 meters), this can go up to 12, 500 ft (3810 meters) with a low pressure system. The idea being that Barometric pressure decreases at higher latitudes. Flying from McMurdo which is at sea level to those effective altitudes within a 3-hour LC-130 flight will be quite a change to the system, so we need to take things easy upon our arrival. The diamox tablets don't taste the best and can have side effects of making carbonated drinks taste flat (not a killer) and of being a diuretic (more annoying than anything). I noticed fairly quickly after my first pill that I was getting very thirsty, so I've been drinking water steadily since yesterday.
|Not Coca-Cola friendly.|
|The Coffee House.|
Otherwise in my free time (which has been limited with all the prep work), I finally got to take a stroll over to another one of my favorite spots in McMurdo, Hut Point. Here is where you will find a shelter (Discovery Hut) built by Robert Falcon Scott way back in 1902. Last year I had the pleasure of getting to tour the inside of the building, still filled with supplies and clothing from the previous occupants on Scott's expedition. This season the hut is undergoing a preservation scheme to mitigate the effects of over a century of Antarctic weather. This undertaking is managed by the Antarctic Heritage trust, a non-profit operation which aims to protect several historic Antarctic sites. It didn't make for the prettiest of pictures, but preserving the history of those first intrepid explorers for future generations is undoubtedly worth it.
|Discovery Hut and the preservation plans.|
|View of McMurdo sound with Vince's Cross, dedicated to Seaman George T. Vince who drowned nearby in 1902.|
|McMurdo Station Softball World-Series Extravaganza (a name I've just made up).|
Anyway, the adventure continues at the South Pole.