Wednesday, November 02, 2016

South Pole At Last!

I finally made it to the South Pole! McMurdo can be a fun place, but I was very
ready to get down to pole. The travel through McMurdo can be kind of tricky.
There are many things that can delay you once you get there.  Weather is one of
the biggest factors you have to deal with, and it is not just the weather at
McMurdo or Pole, but at many other places in Antarctica as well. McMurdo
supports many field camps in Antarctica, and many of those camps have worse
weather than the South Pole.  So there are times that a South Pole flight will
be delayed if they find out the weather in one of the camps is good enough to
get people in or out.  Right now, it is so early in the season we didn't have
much of a problem with that.  In fact, I was actually on the first LC-130 to
get to Pole this season! There were a couple of Baslers (a DC-3 with skis) that
went in before us, but I think our flight marks the opening of the station for
summer. That being said, our delays were due to weather at Pole and maintenance issues.  Thankfully, it was all cleared up today and we finally made it in!

As I have stated before, this is my second trip, and while I was really looking
forward to getting here, it felt like I was losing some of the excitement I had
when I first decided to try to come back.  Mostly, I think I just got stuck in
a routine at McMurdo, so I was starting to feel like it wasn't really going to
be that big a deal any more, almost like it the "new" was starting to wear off.
The reality, however, has been very different. When we arrived it was almost
like coming home. I had a little time this afternoon to run around and
re-explore the station all over again, and it reignited some of that sense of
adventure and excitement that I felt when I first started the process to spend
the year here. Really, I almost felt as excited as I did the first time I came
down here.

Right now, I still feel like this isn't "our" station yet.  That is, the
station is still being run by many of last year's winterovers. But I feel that
as they are starting to head back north and those of us who are taking over for
the next year step into our positions, the station will become OUR home until
the next crew comes in a year from now. This is an exciting time of transition,
and I am so happy to be a part of it.  I am really looking forward to what the
year ahead holds!

As time goes on, I hope to be able to give more detail about the station and
the people and science here. If anyone has any questions about life down here,
please feel free to leave a comment, and I will try to either respond directly
to the comment, or I may even try to write blog post in response.


Unknown said...

I am so excited for you James! This suits you so well. I am looking forward to reading your future there through you! Don't forget to post pictures.

Candio said...

So glamorous. ;-)