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September 27, 2002 at 8:53 am #154
Mike, This is Chris P., your frosh roomate. I am showing your wonderful site to my 10 yr. old daughter, Jennifer. She is studying geography in school. Her teacher made the comment that nobody lived on Antarctica (she’s a mean teacher Jennifer says). I told Jennifer I new differently. Now she does also. I gave her the address to take to school to be the star of the class. I’ll let you know if anything comes of it.
I hope you and Lorie are well and are enjoying your third stint in the cold barren wasteland that is your strangley beautiful home away from home.
Talk to you later, ChrisSeptember 28, 2002 at 1:34 am #1561
Chris, go ahead and give your daughter my email address. If the class would like to send me some antarctica questions I’ll be happy to answer. My camera broke so no more photo’s this year but questions are no problem. Lorie and leave in 11 days so make it quick if it’s this year. We should be back around the 22nd of January as long as we pass the physicals and no one in the family gets ill. In the past I’ve had some great email exchanges with schools and welcome any teachers that would like to have their classes send questions.
mikeOctober 3, 2002 at 5:08 pm #1562
[font=arial,helvetica:a36mgbdc][font=Arial:a36mgbdc]Mike, My daughter was very dissappointed that her teacher did not seem to want to take the time to explore your site. In Va. now, the teachers & schools are ultimately graded based on the SOLs (Standards of Learning). Whatever information is on the SOL tests that kids take at the end of the year is the only info the teachers want to cover. If a kid gets an A for the year but fails the SOL for the respective class…he/she does not pass the course until they take remediation courses to bring them up to speed. Teacher’s have their ass on the line so they don’t deviate from the cirriculum. Good idea. bad practicality. Anyway, Jennifer and I will be checking out the site.
What will you do during the time you “get away”.
Chris[/font:a36mgbdc][/font:a36mgbdc]October 6, 2002 at 1:05 pm #1563
Too bad about the school curriculums. She is welcome to email any questions she wants here and I’ll answer them. Plenty of other people log on here so her questions will be enjoyed by many. As to what we are doing on our time off. WERE GOING SOMEWHERE WARM. We’ve rented a house on a beach in Australia for five weeks. It’s just below the tropics and we plan to sit there and do nothing but warm up. Should be almost heaven. We should be in CA. by the mid part of Dec. and the east coast by the first week in January. Then back here around the 20th of jan for another winter.
mikeOctober 6, 2002 at 5:17 pm #1564
[font=arial,helvetica:6jdxk8wy][font=Arial:6jdxk8wy]I cannot imagine the culture shock of Wilmington, Del. after McMurdo.
I must say Mike, it is a strain for me to wrap my pea brain around the notion of who I remember you to be being the same guy who now lives such a totally unconventional lifestyle. I find my self almost bragging, sometimes, about how I had a college roomate who now does what you do. I do, in some way or other, derive some satisfaction from the connection. I would love to have you and Lorrie visit during your time off. If you should find your way to sunny, hot, humid (not to rub it in but it has been a summer from hell) Va. you must look me up. I am curious to know more about how you found your way there and what the whole deal is about.
1) Are you government employees?
2) Are there time limits on the number of seasons you can spend there?
3) What is the average age of the folks living there?
4) Are all the folks at McMurdo from U.S.?
5) Are there other bases on Antarctica and where are they in relation to McMurdo?
6) How long do you intend to do this, & whatever would you do after this?
I know you are preparing to leave in about a week. Should I use your Hotmail address?
It is now 6:00a.m., Sun., 10/6. I am up early, drinking coffee thinking about what I’ll do today. My list includes finishing mowing the yard, or getting my 16 yr. old son to do it (both options require the same exertion level). picking up litter on the road we live on, hanging some doors on the playhouse I just finished building for my 10 yr. old daughter, and this afternoon I’ll check out my son’s baseball game. That’s what I’ll do. I can’t imagine how different your day will be. I’ll be thinking of you. Take care & write back.
Chris [/font:6jdxk8wy][/font:6jdxk8wy]November 16, 2002 at 6:08 am #1565
Sorry everyone about not answering the questions promply. I’m off the ice for 12 weeks with limited internet use. My ex-college roommate Chris left a few questions that I thought might be interesting for everyone.
1)Are we government employees?- Not exactly but in the end the money we make comes from the National Science Foundation who contracts to Ratheon Polar Services for the people to run the base. Incidently, if you are interested in applying for one of the myriad of jobs down here, click on the above for their website.
2)Are there time limits on the number of seasons we can stay? For the most part once you have spent a winter in Antarctica, you will be required to take some time off. There are a couple of exceptions, but only if you have a critical job and they couldn’t hire anyone else. Other than the mandatory break there are no limits on the number of times you can return. Some have been going down for twenty years. This year will be our fourth year in a row and third winter in a row.
3) What is the average age of the folks living there? This past year the average age was 38. There is no age limit. Last year we had someone who was almost 75, and there are lots of retired people working in galley etc. The ultimate limiting factor is health. The physical can be compared to what you might undergo if you were going on trip to space. That’s because in the summer you are 3days to a week or more from a hospital in New Zealand, and in the winter you can’t get out at all from Feb to August without risking lives of the air crews that would have to pick you up. Luckily, flunking does not eliminate you forever. I’ve flunked several times for things that are not serious outside of the polar regions. Once for low calcium, once for high creatine levels in my blood, once for tooth that the dentist was not happy with. The tooth I had pulled, and the calcium and creatine tests were repeated favorably which enabled me to return with no problem.[/font:wf0k722l]
4) Are all the folks at McMurdo from U.S.? More or less. We often have a few Canadians with U.S. work permits. This past winter the linemen position was still open and at the last minute they were forced to hire a couple of linemen from New Zealand. All in all though most are from the US. McMurdo, however, is a jumping off base for a number other bases. New Zealand, Italy, and sometimes Russia all pass some or all of their personnel through McMurdo on their way to their respective national bases. [/font:wf0k722l]
5) Are there other bases on Antarctica and where are they in relation to McMurdo? [/font:wf0k722l]
There are lot’s of bases. Some permanant, but most operate only during the summer months.McMurdo supports the US South Pole station which is permanant and scores of summer research camps. Byrd Surface Camp, Ice Stream Charlie, Marble Point,and Granite Harbor are examples of summer only camps. Check” Where is Ross Island” on the front page of this website for a map with the different permanant bases.[/font:wf0k722l]
6) How long do you intend to do this, & whatever would you do after this? Good question. The best answer is I don’t know. We’ve been in this lifestlye since 1997 and the thought of traffic jams and normal life is daunting. I’m used to 12 weeks to 8 months vacation a year. It will be difficult to go back to 2 weeks. To do what we are doing we had to become debt free and that is what enables us to live like we do. Pretty much we are free to head in any direction we want. In past times with high debt, I was always terrified of being without a job. Now we can pick and choose what we want.[/font:wf0k722l]
Living in Antarctic is rough, but I know when we stop I am going to miss it and the lifestyle of being free. My guess is that we’ll do something similar somewhere else. Maybe in a National Park or another overseas base someplace. [/font:wf0k722l]
Well Chris I hope this answers your questions. For personal mail you can use the hotmail address, but I’d rather there not be a million people emailing me because I only have a limited amount of storage there. If you have any more questions that everyone would like to know then put them here. [/font:wf0k722l]
We are sitting on the tropic of capricorn in Australia. It’s hot and humid and we are storing up the warmth for our trip back to the ice.'[/font:wf0k722l]
[/font:wf0k722l]April 8, 2003 at 9:23 am #1566
Mike, it’s 10pm eastern time, rainy and chilly in Petersburg, Va. I see you made it back safe and sound. I trust you stay abreast of the world news. I live near an Army fort so the mood around here is one of support and best wishes for all military personnel involved in the Iraq war. I too am proud to fly the flag and support our armed service members, our country and our president. I like the pres.
I hope your winter is providing challenges and exciting opportunities to keep it interesting for another cold, dark winter. I still have a hard time believing you are really there. I bring up my connection to someone on the ice often and get a kick out of folk’s reactions. I look forward to seeing any new pics and to hearing from you.
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