Friday, February 15, 2013

The South Pole Station has officially closed for the winter

Thursday February 14th was not only Valentine's Day but it was also the official closing of the South Pole station. The selected 44 winterovers will survive on our own. We are more than ready to get started on our long winter tasks. I feel like we are on a spaceship getting ready to blast off to another galaxy next month when darkness settles upon us for six months. The station will reopen early November. 

My camera froze so I was unable to take pictures of this event. I normally do not like to post pictures that I didn't take but this was a special event. Photo credit for all these LC-130 pictures go to Robert Schwarz. He is a long time Pole winterover and accomplished photographer of the Southern Lights. 

The final summer LC-130 landing. There were two winter passengers. Photo credit for all LC-130 pictures: Robert Schwarz.

Off-loading fuel for station use. Plane stays running while on the ground to prevent fuel and hydraulic lines from freezing.

Usually about 2,000 - 3,000 gallons are off-loaded. The planes are left with enough fuel for the McMurdo return.

Final dozen outgoing passengers. Their summer is complete.

South Pole International Terminal.

Once the plane lands the skis must be retracted or they will freeze to the ice surface.

The final passenger loading. On my flight to the Pole from McMurdo I sat up in the cockpit. During most of the flight I stood next to the co-pilot on the left side of picture. What a view of the Antarctic!

The pilot did a terrific low flyby. What a moment! 

When we returned to the station the rock song "Welcome to the Jungle" was blaring throughout the station. Winter has officially started.
The South Pole drive-in movie theater - excellent audio and video. Getting ready for "The Thing" marathon.

Complete with a real popcorn machine.

Full HD equipment.

Standing by. I counted about 30 of the 44 winterovers present. It is a Pole tradition to show "The Thing" after the last plane leaves.

Fresh popcorn and a Speight's Dark Ale. What a combo!

"The Thing" marathon begins. All three movies were shown.

Freshies in the galley!

After "The Thing" marathon a nice midnight snack (carrot cake) then to bed.


  1. Movies, freshies, and carrot cake. Sounds good :)

  2. We'll see what it's like in a few months. The creepy times are ahead. The dinner talk is about who will "change" first.