McMurdo Sufferfest

So, one thing I have been disappointed with in my time in Antarctica is the lack of outdoor recreation. When it comes to indoor recreation, there’s plenty. Games, movies, drinking galore, fitness classes, organized sports in the Big Gym, even a climbing wall. But I didn’t come to Antarctica to be inside. As with most […]

Adventures in redeployment

We’re still in McMurdo. We were scheduled to leave this morning, but our flights were delayed 24 hours. That’s pretty typical. And given the airfield conditions this year, quite expected. McMurdo operates its flight traffic off of two air strips. One, called Pegasus, can handle large, wheeled aircraft like Airbuses and C-17s. Willy Airfield, however, […]


Here’s a quick list of some McMurdo vocabulary: Let’s start with Amenomania — “Wind madness” as described by Linda Davis in her book “Sir Ernest Shackleton.” It’s an obsession with the wind; its direction, speed and sound. Freshies — real food; not frozen or canned. Wasties — Waste department employees Stewies — Stewards or galley workers Fuelies — Fuels workers Runway — Willy […]

Tour of the USS Polar Star

Around this time in the McMurdo summer season, three large boats come to visit. They all serve to restock the town with supplies and food for the next year. They also take away trash, hazardous waste and gear from the year’s science experiments that need to go back to labs in the U.S. (The ice […]

Science lab tour

The building at McMurdo that houses all the science is called Albert P. Crary Science and Engineering Center. Albert P. Crary was a geophysicist and glaciologist and the first person to stand on both poles…at once! Just kidding. The building is currently about 4,300 square-feet, but has plans to grow in the next decade. The […]

Voting from the ice

The primary elections have come and gone in New Hampshire, my chosen state, but I was still able to participate and exercise my right to vote, even from Antarctica. While McMurdo is the United States, it is fairly common down here to feel out of the loop when it comes to news, pop culture and […]

Richard gets to boondoggle

Because my work schedule is more restrictive than Richard’s, he comes over to eat lunch during my break. Most every day he is prompt and attentive to the time. Sometimes, he’s with a patient and can’t come. Sometimes, he just forgets. I usually try to page him if he isn’t on time to remind him. […]

Apple Sleepover

Since Richard was not on call this week, we decided to try for a goal we’ve had for a while: sleeping in one of the emergency shelters along the Castle Rock Loop. Technically, you are not supposed to plan on using the shelters for recreational sleeping, but you are allowed to check out with the […]

A Room with a View

As the season draws to a close, there are still a few recreational trips being organized. The challenge for participation is that these trips are run by lotto drawing. You enter your name and hope to get chosen. The Room with a View trip has lower odds because it is very popular. Everyone drives snowmobiles […]

Challenges to sleeping

Editor’s Note: This post was written under the influence of fatigue and frustration. The events that I discuss below don’t happen often, thankfully, but they sure are annoying when they do. Ok. Happy reading. Some weeks, when I’m in my 57th hour of working and I am seriously doubting whether I will last the next […]