What’s it like down here? Wow that’s a hard one to answer because everything is so diverse. Right now we are in the coldest part of winter. The temperature the other day was approaching 50 below zero farenheight a couple of days ago and the windchills regularly are in the -70 degree range. Temperatures like that make -20 feel warm. For the most part we learn to deal with the cold pretty quick. To spend the winter you have to go to a survival school where we learn about hypothermia and frostbite and then have to build a snow shelter or pitch a tent and spend 24 hours out on the ice shelf. See camper school in the photo albums. We all watch out for each other. If we are going away from the confines of the base we generally go in pairs and carry radios. No one minds if you have to jump in a vehicle or building to warm up. It’s a tight community in the winter. With 200 some odd people stuck here for eight months we get to know each other pretty well and everyone watches out for the safety of the group.
Summer is pretty different. Instead of it being night for 24 hours a day, the sun is up all the time. It goes around in a big circle all day and all night lone. I find the constant daylight harder to get used to than the darkness of the winter. There is just something odd about having to wear sunglasses at 1 in the morning. On the other hand Antarctica and the ice shelf are nothing short of awesome in the sunlight. My favorite thing in summer is when fog forms. It freezes into an ice fog of microscopic crystals. When the sun hits it the fog sparkles like someone has dropped pixie dust. We call it diamond dust.
Summer also brings the wildlife. Usually there are plenty of penguins walking around along with lot’s of seals. When the icebreaker opens a channel into McMurdo often times whales will swim in. That’s pretty awesome too. I’ve been here three years and coming back for a fourth and I’m still not tired of it.
Hope this gives you some idea of things.