I’m officially finished with my first full week here at Pole! On Monday night the station transitioned to level green which meant we no longer had to wear masks when outside of our rooms. To celebrate, we had a little get together in the galley so we could meet people and learn what their faces look like. It was a nice break but, unfortunately, only lasted until Wednesday when the next plane heading down here with passengers left McMurdo. On the bright side, that plane left before the next one arrived at McMurdo so we only had to be back in yellow until Saturday night.
Work is going well in my first week. My predecessor, Wayne, has definitely set me up for success with an awesome amount of documentation on most everything I’ll need to know. On Tuesday we took the Pisten Bully out to all the assorted building we could in order to learn what IT equipment we had in assorted places. It was really cool getting to go around and see everything, we even went up in the domes where the satellite dishes that give us our internet are. I got some good pictures while out and I will get those posted at some point. I ended up not getting my photos edited/posted because Wayne ended up being here for a few extra days so I took advantage of the extra turn-over time.
Things are kind of in flux right now as we transition from the summer crew to the winter crew. Once the station closes some of our schedules will change a bit. Right now house mouse (what we call doing chores) is based on what berthing (room) you’re in to determine what day you have to do your chores. Here in about a week or so though things will change to everyone doing house mouse on the same day. There will be a few changes like that, such as galley hours and the like. I think the last plane is scheduled to leave on Wednesday so, if it doesn’t get delayed, that’ll be when the station closes.
Saturday night we went back to level green and we should stay that way for the season. It’s kind of weird socializing and being close to people without a mask on but it’s definitely nice. The South Pole Telescope people also hosted a little get together and did tours of the telescope. We had a lot of fun and it was a good kick off to level green. Today I went out to both of the pole markers. There’s two markers down here, one is the ceremonial pole and has flags around it that represent the original signers of the Antarctic Treaty, the other pole is at the geographic south pole. The reason there are two is because the station sits on a big sheet of ice, well that ice sheet moves about 9 feet every year so the winter-over crew design a pole marker that gets placed at the new geographic pole at the beginning of every year. I definitely made sure to get some pictures.
This week’s post isn’t too exciting, mostly just worked and got settled in. My second bag did arrive on the plane so I was able to get my room all setup and decorated. I’ve got a real nice cozy space that I’m enjoying which will definitely help with the winter. It’s also weird getting used to constant daylight, it’s very easy to lose track of time. I know I keep saying I’ll get pictures posted and I promise I will, right now the good satellite is up during the work day so I don’t get as much time to upload things and I wanted to take advantage of having my predecessor here so I could ask him questions. I’m going to try and post every Sunday but we shall see how it goes. As always, thanks for reading, I really appreciate everyone who takes time out of their day to read my posts.
–Matt “my beard has frozen” Butcher