Bet Yer Bottom Dollar That Tomorrow There’ll Be Sun

The sun technically rose for the first time since April or so today around noon. I didn’t see it; pretty much no one at McMurdo did due to a combination of sight lines (thank you, Mountains!) and cloud cover. It’ll be up again tomorrow and by late September it will never set.

After work, I did sally forth for the first time on my own from the building where I work, live, eat and sleep. (Actually, that is not entirely true… it was my second trip out and about alone. Early this morning I went to the “gerbil gym,” a trailer-sized building where they keep the cardio equipment, to spend half an hour on the elliptical. As the gerbil gym is located roughly 50 feet from my building, I’m not really counting it as an excursion.) I walked the half mile or so to Hut Point, home to Discovery Hut, one of the early 20th century huts left behind by the likes of Scott and Amundsen.

Discovery Hut at about 4:30 pm local time (moon and lights of McMurdo in background)

You can’t go in to Discovery Hut except on a rare tour, but it was cool just to see it and even cooler to look out to the sea ice and darkening horizon, smudgey clouds interrupted by the tantalizing crags of mountains.

Hut Point at about 4:45 pm (note mountains on the horizon)

One thing that amazed me on the walk was how comfortable I was… it’s cold, but it’s a dry cold, arr arr arr arr… No, really. The gear they give us is ridiculously good. I always imagined polar bears and penguins and seals must feel the cold but now I’m not so sure. If you’re properly insulated, you can be quite cozy in temperatures that would otherwise be deadly. Of course, I feel like a cross between an astronaut and Kenny from South Park when I’m geared up, but that is another matter.

Now I’m headed to dinner, but not before posting some pix. Enjoy. (For all the pix above and below, by the way, you should be able to click on the photo to “embiggen” it… these were taken with my new Fuji Finepix camera which takes much larger files than my beloved Canon Powershot A70.)

My quarter-room (the blue thing on the right is my locker-like wardrobe and yes, my bed is raised high so I can put all my stuff under it). I brought stick-on flowers and I'm so glad I did because I think they really improve the place.

Yes, I came to Antarctica, but I didn't come alone!! Karl (on bed, wearing pirate hat) and DCI Gene Hunt came with me, the latter thanks to an AWESOME birthday gift from Zeina! Thanks, Zeina!

At McMurdo, we recycle more than 60% of all our stuff... and what we don't recycle gets shipped back to the States every January for disposal. So they take trash sorting pretty seriously here, and understandably so. We have to sort all our own trash and recycling, which is then sorted again, by hand, by the "wasties," the folks who work at Waste Management. Littering or tossing things where we feel like it would not only be rude, and dangerous for the penguins, but also in violation of an international treaty or two.

McMurdo Station with Ob Hill (Observation Hill) in background, taken around 4:15 pm local time

Sunset and sea ice... From Hut Point

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3 thoughts on “Bet Yer Bottom Dollar That Tomorrow There’ll Be Sun

  1. I like the stick-on flowers. Your quarter room is much cheerier because of them and the bright red comforter…and, of course, Gene Genie! (That’s an awesome poster!) And it’s more space that I imagined.

    And I also like the austere beauty of the place. So cool (no pun intended)! I’m kind of jealous, especially now that I know the gear does actually keep you warm. Do they need someone to run enrichment classes or book clubs down there? 🙂

    Oh, and the recycling is cool, too.

  2. you know, they do need volunteers to staff the library and craft room… and gene genie did not only accompany me in poster form. i brought my a2a discs with me. in fact, i’m in the mood for an episode tonight!! there is a big party on base (i keep wanting to say “on campus” because that’s what it feels like) but i’m holing up in my lair with alex and gene instead cuz i’m only halfway through an eight-day workweek!

  3. I love how you decorated. Looks better than what I had imagined, which was probably closer to hostel or even prison cell hahah.
    Glad Gene is watching over you. 😉

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