Friday, September 28, 2018

I guess I better get packed

Okay, I've procrastinated long enough.  It's time to get packed!  This stuff has been laying on my guest room bed for three weeks and it's time to bag it.  Not sure what it is about packing my bags for a trip but it's not one of my favorite tasks.  Three days and counting.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Antarctic Basics

I found the following information about Antarctica to be insightful and helpful.

This continent is the highest, driest, coldest, windiest, and emptiest place on earth. An ice sheet covers more than 99% of Antarctica. At its thickest point, it is 4,776 m (nearly 3 mi.) deep. Antarctica holds approximately 90% of all the world’s ice (by volume) and 70% of all the world’s fresh water. There are many penguins and abundant sea life along the coast – but there is little life in the interior, and there are no indigenous people.


The mean annual temperature at South Pole Station is minus 49°C (-56°F). Temperatures at McMurdo Station may reach as high as 8°C (46°F) in summer, while at South Pole Station, the record high summer temperature of -l2.3°C. (9.9°F.) was recorded in December 2011. Palmer Station's summer temperatures will reach above 4°C (40°F).

Daylight and Darkness

The area above 66.5 degrees south latitude experiences one long day and one long night each year – with several weeks of sunrise and sunset in between. There are spectacular displays of aurora australis (southern lights) during the winter darkness.


No nation owns Antarctica. The Antarctic Treaty, which has been recognized by 53 countries, reserves the area south of 60 degrees south latitude as a zone for the peaceful conduct of research. Treaty nations coordinate and cooperate to maximize research results and minimize logistics requirements.

Size and Distance

The continent is roughly 14 million sq. km. (5.4 million sq. mi.). For comparison, the U.S. is 9.36 million sq. km. (3.6 million sq. mi.). The sea ice around Antarctica varies from 4 million sq. km. (1 million sq. mi.) in summer to 20 million sq. km. (7.7 million sq. mi.) in winter. The distance from Washington, D.C., to McMurdo Station is approximately 14,830 km. (9,920 mi.).


Antarctica provides excellent conditions for scientific research on global climate change, ozone depletion, UV radiation, earth sciences, glaciology, astronomy, oceanic and atmospheric circulation, marine ecosystems, meteorite studies, and biology, among others.

The existence of the continent of Antarctica was only a hypothesis until it was first sighted in 1820-21. Sealers set foot briefly on the Peninsula in 1821, but no one set foot on East Antarctica until 1895. The South Pole was first reached in 1911, and a year-round research station was established there in 1956. Antarctica’s history is full of extraordinary stories of heroism and survival.

My first blog post

It's hard to believe but a week from today I'll be boarding an airplane in Redmond, OR and heading off to Christchurch, NZ, arriving on October 2.  And two days later, after some orientation and getting my Extreme Cold Weather clothing, I'll head to McMurdo Station in Antarctica (lovingly known as the "Ice").  There I will spend the next four and a half months as a shuttle driver.  I'll explain more about my job in a later post, once I know more.

Many family, friends, co-workers and neighbors asked to kept informed on my adventure to the Land of Ice.  So I decided to develop a blog.  There's a bit of a learning curve but I'll get the hang of it eventually.  I will strive to update it weekly but no promises.

I will miss everyone and my little house on Frazer Lane.  But I look forward to making new friends and experiencing the most isolated continent in the world.

One last Antarctic Adventure

I promise this will the be the last post.  But I wanted to share with you one of the most powerful experiences I had while on the Ice. ...