Daily Life in Antarctica

I figured it was high time to give a glimpse into what daily life is down here. I've been living here for about 4 months, and while I'm used to the place I'm not sure it will ever feel exactly like home. There are things that make living here difficult but there's some pretty awesome sweet perks too.

I'll also admit that a glimpse into my daily life isn't necessarily representative of what other people experience. We all have our own "Antarctica", and this is how I've chosen to live mine. Also, I live at McMurdo station, which has housed around 800 people all summer long. By far it's the largest concentration of humans on the entire continent. In my opinion, McMurdo is a very distinct entity from "Antarctica." One has to get out of town to truly experience Antarctica as distinct from McMurdo. Both McMurdo and Antarctica as a whole are unique, incredible, and surprising places, unlike anywhere else in the world.

This is probably wh…

High Summer in Antarctica

It's been a long time since I've posted! It's also been a pretty full month since Christmastime, and I'm excited to give a little snapshot into one of the most interesting times to be at McMurdo.

The Holidays came and went. Here's my Christmas tree and some holiday cheer from the dining hall seal.

Icestock, the southernmost music festival in the world, came and left, ringing in 2019 in its wake.... And the dining hall seal helped us celebrate 2019, too.
A beautiful hike on New Years Day brought in the new year right....
And a tour out to see a Navy plane wreck from the 1970s on a perfect Antarctic evening was high on my list of best experiences in Antarctica. 
The day was perfectly still, so warm that we could strip down to T-shirts, and a sighting of emperor penguins made that day a perfect day.

The warmer height-of-summer days have provided lots of good opportunities for enjoyable hiking weather.....
...with fun times in the shelters (called "apples&quo…

Return of the Skua

 DUM!!  DUM!!! DUM!!!!
Skuas are the only birds that I have seen in the last two months, and they have only been appearing around town for perhaps the last 6 weeks at the most. Skuas are large seagull-like birds that are actually much larger than seagulls, their body size is the same as an Adelie penguin. They can be quite annoying in town as they will attack people walking with uncovered food in their hands and will tear into any exposed garbage bags in search of food. I came across this skua perched near my hiking trail recently. When seen up close, they are actually quite imposing. As part of the Antarctic treaty, we aren't supposed to disturb the birds (even if we catch them breaking into garbage bags), but they also don't seem to have much of a fear of humans either, as this guy let me get fairly close. These no-nonsense birds are perfectly adapted to scavenge and survive on this harsh continent.

Tour of Scott's Discovery Hut

I'm a bit behind on my adventure posting....Thanksgiving resulted in both celebrations and long days at work so I have been trying to catch up after the holiday. More about Antarctic Thanksgiving in another post. I will also be making the change to working days early next week which will be a big deal for me. I've never actually slept at night and been awake in the day since I arrived, as the moment I got off the plane I started transitioning to working nights. I hope it will expand my world as much as it sounds. It will be nice to be able to take part in town life more, and even enjoy simple joys like eating breakfast after I wake up.

A few of us galley folks got to tour Scott's hut that was constructed by his 1902 Discovery Expedition. The Discover Expedition was Robert Falcon Scott's first trip to Antarctica, and was the first British expedition in 60 years. Scott's second expedition, the Terra Nova Expedition, was an attempt to be the first person to reach th…

Pressure Ridge Tour

I was lucky to get on a Pressure Ridge Tour last week. It was a great experience getting to see some unique views that you can only see in places like Antarctica.

First of all, what's a pressure ridge? Pressure ridges are huge ice formations that appear between floes of sea ice. Currents and winds create stress that causes chunks of ice to form and be forced up above the surface. The result are dramatic, huge "sculptures" of ice. Another bonus of touring pressure ridges is that seals are all over the place. Thin ice exists near pressure ridges, making it easier for seals to surface. Right now is pupping season for seals, so they spend considerable time hanging out on the ice, giving birth to and nursing pups.

Here are some pictures from our time. The biggest pressure ridges near McMurdo are on the sea ice near Scott Base, the Kiwi science base that is a mile away from us. There is a road that connects the two bases, and lots of positive cooperation exists between the t…