Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shop Projects

Most of the priojects that we get to build aren't that interesting, but sometimes you can get some good ones. Here are two that I worked on. This is an insulated water pump box. They wanted it to be fun, so I obliged them.

Nicole made the mail room sign, and I supplied the penquin that will go on top of it.

Icebreaker Oden

The Oden with Hut Point in the foreground

The Swedish icebreaker Oden has arrived. It comes in January every year to break the ice so that the tanker and the cargo vessel can get in and unload. I was too lazy to go out and take pictures, but my friend Jenny Brower took these very nice shots.
The tanker and the vessel only come once a year, so it is a big deal. We do get some cargo by airplane, but most of it is on the ships. A huge amount of cargo comes in, and then a huge amount of garbage, etc. goes out.
I am leaving tomorrow for the BYRD deep field camp. it is another flat, white place in the middle of nowhere. Myself and about six other carps will be closing down the camp. Byrd is an old camp that was last active there maybe eight years ago. The original camp which was built underground, or under snow, is still there maybe 75 feet below, although it is slowly being crushed by the weight of the ice and snow. They don't let you go down there because it is too dangerous. Anyway the entrance is buried under probably twenty feet of snow.

The Oden at the Ice Pier with McMurdo station in the background. The pier is literally achunk of ice covered with a layer of gravel.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hut Point

A view of McMurdo Station from Hut Point.McMurdo Station from with Ob Hill.

The hill at Hut Point

Trevor and friend

Hut Point cross overlooking the ice pier and McMurdo Station.

Overlooking the Ross Sea.

Lisa and Trevor, fuelies.

Looking for whales and penquins.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Leaving the South Pole on a Twin Otter. We were going to take down the AGAP camp. The purpose of AGAP was to map by using airplanes and radar the Gamburtsev Mountain Range under the Ice Sheet. The Gamburtsevs are suppose to be as big as the Alps. This was the third and last year for the project. AGAP is the highest, coldest and most remote of all the US deep field camps. Last year a couple of carps were stranded there for over two weeks. If a plane comes, get on it - no matter where it is going

Before takeoff

After Takeoff

Nichole and her unbridled enthusiasm.

Shadow of the Twin Otter with a double sundog. Actually a triple sundog, but you can't see the third ring in this picture.

Myself incognito at AGAP

AGAP sits at around 12,000 feet. The body gets less oxygen so we have to monitor our oxygen level in our blood and also our heartrate. Mine was pretty good. usually my oxygen level was between 92 and 94. My heartrate was usually in the 50's and 60's. Most peoples were in the 80's and 90's. I still had problems sleeping some nights, and one night I only slept about two hours and felt like I couldn't get enough air. Not the most comfortable feeling. This is Laura with the Pulse/Ox machine. She is a carpenter at the Pole.

Laura and Nichole sucking on oxygen in the medical tent.

dismantling one of the Polar Havens.

Dismantling the Galley RAC tent.

Kevin and Jeremy posing against an artistically pleasing Jamesway endwall.

Snowmobiles are use for transportation and hauling things.

Sometimes it takes five carpenters to close a stubborn Jamesway box and one to photograph it.

The Galley RAC tent.

Polar Haven take down.
Nichole and Laura

Laura shoveling out around a Jamesway. Jamesways were used for berthing the campstaff and the researchers.
The NSF now requires us to wear helmets when riding snowmobiles. One size does not fit all.

Nichole holding up the Jamesway arches while they are being dissasembled.

Galley RAC tent.

Tent City with my tent in the foreground. Very comfortable inside. Summer camping.

Staging on the winter berm. This is the last year for AGAP. Some of the stuff flew back to McMurdo on the plane with us, but most of it will be left on the berm for at least a year to be picked up and later traversed overland back to McMurdo. Maybe.

AGAP showing the cargo line with one tent left standing. As things wound down, it was the galley, coms, medical for twelve people. One group left at three pm on friday. The other group (three carps and five camp staff) was scheduled to be picked up at midnight, but actually didn't fly out until 4 am. They had a very long day starting at 7 am and ending at 4 am. As they say, it's a harsh continent. If they had been unable to get piced up then, they would have had to wait until monday.

Waiting for the Herc to take us back to McMurdo. "If a plane comes, get on it."
The Air National Guard out of Schenectady, NY preparing the ramp to take on cargo.

Loading cargo using the Tucker Snocat.

Flying over the Transantarctic Mountains on the way back to McMurdo. It's good to be home.

The Pole

The ceremonial pole with the South Pole Station behind.
The pole with a tourist plane behind. It's one of KBA's (Ken Borak Air from Calgary, Canada) Basslers.

Summer Camp with the station behind.

South Pole frisbee golf course "hole" with scenic fuel tank.

South Pole frisbee golf course "hole" inside old arches near the cargo line.