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.|
|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!|