Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I have returned to the South Pole!

Tuesday February 14, 2017

This morning there were 15 of us heading south to the ice, 3 for the South Pole and 12 for McMurdo. We arrived at the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) Terminal at 7am where we dressed in our extreme cold weather gear. The flight was delayed several hours due to an ice storm between Christchurch and Antarctica. We finally arrived in McMurdo late Monday then had a one hour truck ride to the town. Once there us three polies checked in our baggage for next day’s early morning flight. 

The C-130 Hercules flight was delayed due to mechanical problems but finally arrived at the beautiful and stunning South Pole at 1:30. My good friend Matt from Montana was working the satellite communications engineer summer job and I was his relief. We served together in McMurdo for the winter of 2012. The turnover was a quick 10 minutes before he had to board the C-130 Hercules for a return to McMurdo.

I quickly settled in and met several old friends and lots of new ones. The first few days will be very quiet as I acclimate myself to the 10,000 feet here. In fact, the physiological altitude changes daily from 10,000 to sometimes 13,000 feet due to differences in air pressure. Many people do get altitude sickness – it is very debilitating.

I was able to call and talk with my wife Andee at home in Florida. The time difference is 18 hours. I spent 6 days travelling to get here. It feels really good to be back. This is an incredible experience that few people in this world will ever live. 

Cool New Zealand bills.

USAP Antarctic Terminal

Nice and warm polar boots.

Looking forward in a C-17.


Removing pallets at McMurdo.

In McMurdo I used to work on this 30 foot NASA McMurdo Ground Station antenna.

The ski-way at McMurdo.

My chariot to the South Pole  C-130 Hercules.

Looking aft.


Crossing the Trans-Antarctic Mountain Range.

The flight deck of the C-130.

Relieving my friend Matt so he can go home to Montana. 

Flags surrounding the ceremonial South Pole marker taken. Picture taken from the galley.

My room with a view!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Janice and Charlie.I will enjoy the sunshine until sunset on March 21st. After 6 months of dark sunrise will occur on September 21st. How unique is that - one sunset and one sunrise per year!

  2. Hi Mike! Thanks for the calls. I am able to see where you work and all of the surrounding areas. Your pictures are wonderful. I hope you start to acclimate and feel better soon. We expect to hear about your cycling miles in the gym this year. You have so many pictures to share with the world, your travels will fill another book or two. I bet you are ready to tackle that challenge!
    Okay, keep the news flowing, you are far more positive than the networks on TV! Love always, Andee

  3. Thanks Andee. I don't know if I will exercise to McMurdo again as I need to spend time on the cycling book. I'm feeling better. Love you.

  4. Chariots, the frozen frontier, and limitless bravado. Another epic in the making...

    The first picture of the pilots in the cockpit made my jaw drop due to the way the reflections of the ice create a gray-scale of white's and blues no matter where you are. It's almost as if the shadows are in hiding until the ides of March. It's now my background picture on my computer and I cant stop looking at it!

    I miss you! I'm trying to read the book, but it's hard to find time ;(