Friday, January 9, 2015

Another Day At The Pole: January 9, 2015

Today I woke up and checked email before breakfast. After breakfast, Dana and I helped Dave take his bags over to cargo for bag drag. I then called Thomas for our regular morning check in. It sounds like things are going well out at the SuperTIGER site. There wasn’t too much for us to do, so I read a book and took a nap before lunch.

After lunch, we sat around the galley for a while and then finally went out to the South Pole markers to take touristy photos. There are two South Pole markers. First, we headed out to the Geographical South Pole sign and marker. This marker marks the actual spot where the Earth’s axis of rotation comes out of the surface—the actual south pole. Because the station and everything around here is built on top of a glacier that drifts, the pole is moved every year on January 1. Every year, the crew that stays at the South Pole all winter designs and machines a new marker. This year’s is pretty cool—I’ll try to post a photo when we get a good TDRSS window. I haven’t been sleeping too well, so I’ve just been waking up for the tail end of the good internet.

After taking a bunch of photos at the Geographical Pole, we walked over to the Ceremonial Pole. This is a lot more picturesque—the pole marker is striped and has a reflective sphere on top, and is surrounded by flags from all the original signatories of the Antarctic Treaty. We took a lot more photos there, and then went inside to warm up. We sat around the Galley looking at the photos from the poles and the rest of the trip so far and talking. Eventually, it was almost dinner time, so I went back to the Hypertat to re-pack my bag.

Sean and I were offered a tour of the tunnels underneath the station, but we didn’t really set a time for that (we’re now planning on going tomorrow night). I packed my warmest gear just in case. I also packed a pair of shorts and a tshirt, because according to the wall of recreational activities, Ultimate Frisbee is every Friday at 8pm. We had a leisurely dinner and then I went down to the gym to see if Frisbee was indeed happening. In the end, only one other person—Dave, who works on meteorological stations and was on our flight out of McMurdo (not the SuperGroom team mechanic named Dave. There are 6 Daves on station. 3.7% of people at the South Pole are named Dave), but we threw a Frisbee around for about an hour.

After that, it was time for my first South Pole shower. To conserve water, everyone is limited to two-minute showers twice a week. With only two minutes of water, it’s important to have a plan of action going in and to budget time wisely.

Refreshed by the shower, I stopped in the galley for dessert (they were almost out of chocolate ice cream. It’s a harsh continent) and then hopped on the slower internet to check email.

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