Sunday, December 16, 2018

Never a lack of something to do

People have asked, “what is there to do at McMurdo?”  The short answer is, a lot!  As one of my fellow Shuttle drivers put it, there is just about any activity here you can think of.  

Aerobic equipment in the "Gerbil Gym".

There are four gyms; one has weight equipment, another has aerobic machines and light weights, a third is for yoga and other classes and the last one has a full sized gymnasium that can be used for basketball, tennis, pickle ball, volleyball, soccer, and other court sports.  It also has a climbing wall. The gymnasium was used for the Halloween Party, which was truly a sight to behold.

The climbing wall in the gymnasium.

There are three bars; two with beer, wine, and hard liquor (Gallagher’s and Southern Exposure Pubs) and one with coffee, wine, and hard cider (The Coffee House).  The bars are staffed by local residents during their off hours.  The Coffee House had water damage over and the winter and the electrical panel caught on fire but it finally opened the first week of December.  I’ve had a couple of cappuccinos, which are real treats.

There is a craft room.  It has a number of sewing machines and other equipment and supplies to make just about any craft item you can think of.  Some industrious folks make crafts and sell at local craft fairs.  

A craft fair in the dinning hall.

Volunteers run a local radio station and the programming varies quite a bit.  Besides the libraries in each dorm with books, videos, and games, there is larger library with a wider selection of materials and a check out system.  Board and card games are popular.  A cribbage and pinochle tournament are in full swing.  Throw in a ping pong tournament for good measure.  There are a variety of groups and organizations which you can join.  I’ve met with other Returned Peace Corps Volunteers where we shared our experiences with each other.

Bikes with fat tires outside the Coffee House.

For outdoor enthusiasts there is equipment for cross country skiing, skating, biking, hiking, climbing  and other activities.  I see outdoor runners almost everyday, sometimes even along the snow road on the ice shelf.  Hardy souls for sure.  The Kiwis have a rope tow and ski hill near Scott Base and if you’re lucky enough you might be invited to go snow boarding or downhill skiing.

There are a number of running events each season.  So far there have been 5K and 10K runs, and a marathon is planned in January.  Costumes are always encouraged.  A recent Wall Street Journal article had a picture of one of our Shuttle drivers (runner 1770) in a Rocky costume.  

One of the race officials at the annual 5K Turkey Trot run.

Each week scientists give presentations on research they are doing and some of their findings.  Some are more technical than others but even those I am able to walk away with a few nuggets of information.

Needless to say, if you're bored it’s your own fault.

1 comment:

Gianni alsoknownas John said...

Holy cow- you're right! There is no excuse for boredom with all of these various choices and social activities. A bowling alley might be fun! (= Earnest Shackleton kept his men busy on the Ice during his expeditions, so it must be a smart practice while you're isolated in such a remote region. Makes the time go by faster, I imagine!

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