Antarctica

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I went over the summer of 2000-2001 and worked for 5 months, driving the shuttle back and forth between the "town" and the various airfields at McMurdo. We flew down from Christchurch and landed right on the sea ice in a military C-130. There are maybe 6 small porthole windows in the whole cabin of a C-130, and I lucked into one of them, craning my neck to get a view of the ice and the mountains. I've (obviously) never had a flight like it.

The first two weeks were hell. I never get dry skin, but it seemed like all of me was cracked and cut. I was also in a room with no windows and 3 dudes. There was so much to get used to at first. But then I settled in. Work, 56 hour weeks, driving back and forth, took up both time and mind. That's one thing I'll treasure: driving on the ice, alone, music up, sun out.

I played drums down there too. God, what was the name of that band? We were the only group that played originals: The Legendary Beep Beeps. We drank a lot of New Zealand beer and thought we were fucking great.

Okay, enough of this. but maybe I'll post a few pictures.

jergincito, Friday, 23 March 2007 10:15 (7 years ago) Permalink

i guess that band continues. i had no idea: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=9021959
ha ha

i drove this a couple of times:

[Removed Illegal Image]

my dorm:



i need to scan my own pictures. they're so much better.

jergincito, Friday, 23 March 2007 10:20 (7 years ago) Permalink

try the bus again:


jergincito, Friday, 23 March 2007 10:21 (7 years ago) Permalink

my favorite stories to ask about of the winter-overs were about the people who'd gone a little crazy during the 24 hours of darkness. my friends, the ones who got me my job, and feature in the book linked to above, were down over a winter when one guy wouldn't leave his room. you quit your job in a place like that and there's no place to go. so he just stayed in his room, wouldn't even go to the galley. people brought food to his door and tried to talk him into taking a shower. another guy got hold of an ax somehow and had to be talked down. there aren't exactly cops, or jail cells, there, so it took some pretty fine diplomacy. i think he got arrested on his return to NZ.

jergincito, Friday, 23 March 2007 10:24 (7 years ago) Permalink

The new south pole station (I never went to the pole) is pretty interesting from an architectural standpoint:

It is a 2-story structure with the "leading edge" facing the prevailing wind. The steel structure is elevated 10' above the initial graded snow surface, supported by many 24" heavywall pipe piles. These are designed to allow the structure to be jacked up in the future.

it's on these pillars, so that when the ice changes, rises, they can keep the station from being covered over, ala the old one:

jergincito, Friday, 23 March 2007 10:28 (7 years ago) Permalink

My new favourite band:

Masonic Boom, Friday, 23 March 2007 10:30 (7 years ago) Permalink

I love how even original bands in Antarctica have their own myspace site.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 23 March 2007 12:14 (7 years ago) Permalink

I would go to Antarctica, but I would feel like such an intruder if I didn't have a job to do. Seems like tourists would spoil the place. Those pictures at the top, especially of Erebus, are amazing.

Mr. Que, Friday, 23 March 2007 13:47 (7 years ago) Permalink

it's really hard to get there as a tourist (which makes the lonely planet all the more laughable). we had one group pass through there while i was there, off of a russian boat, helicoptered over. we looked at them like they were aliens. it was especially odd to see a child. people were trippin, "oh my god a kid!"

jergincito, Friday, 23 March 2007 16:54 (7 years ago) Permalink

Some cruise line is running tour ships to Antarctica, right?

M.V., Friday, 23 March 2007 17:18 (7 years ago) Permalink

yeah, it's a russian boat. i think they go to the peninsula, on the s. america side. sometimes you get on land, sometimes you don't. weather.

jergincito, Friday, 23 March 2007 17:22 (7 years ago) Permalink

I believe that people should not be allowed visit Antarctica, except maybe for regulated numbers of scientists.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Friday, 23 March 2007 18:00 (7 years ago) Permalink

what about rich people?

Catsupppppppppppppp dude ‫茄蕃‪, Friday, 23 March 2007 18:08 (7 years ago) Permalink

they should just go to space instead

rrrobyn, Friday, 23 March 2007 18:30 (7 years ago) Permalink

yeah, rich people can go. i should have said 'expensive' instead of 'difficult'. it's about $10k per person, i think.

jergincito, Saturday, 24 March 2007 09:46 (7 years ago) Permalink

Rich people going: http://photoshopnews.com/feature-stories/antarctica-expedition/, http://photoshopnews.com/2007/03/08/im-back-from-antarctica-but-im-on-the-road-again/

caek, Saturday, 24 March 2007 12:52 (7 years ago) Permalink

Awesome Caek? Thankyou! OTOH if you mean my syntax is crapola apologies.

No, I meant that sentence was so fun! It made me smile. A+++ would read again.

Elvis Telecom: had fun reading the PDF of the first chapter of that book. Thanks for the link.

caek, Sunday, 25 March 2007 21:50 (7 years ago) Permalink

That makes me happier than you would care to imagine. I feel complete at last. Nice trade! Highly Recommend!

Kiwi, Monday, 26 March 2007 02:02 (7 years ago) Permalink

5 months pass...

This book is a must read for the curreent Antarctic state-of-mind

-- Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 22 March 2007 23:52 (5 months ago) Bookmark Link

I read the rest of this book after reading this thread. It is great. I have now subscribed to this RSS feed: http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/employment/.

Also, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz2SeEzxMuE = Whoa.

caek, Wednesday, 12 September 2007 02:06 (7 years ago) Permalink

Also, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz2SeEzxMuE = Whoa.

Bloody hell, it's like opening the hatch of a spaceship in deep space.

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 12 September 2007 04:11 (7 years ago) Permalink

i just saw werner herzog's new movie about antarctica. it's called encounters at the end of the world. some cool stuff in there.

s1ocki, Wednesday, 12 September 2007 05:17 (7 years ago) Permalink

ooh. i want to see that.

a few weeks ago i ran into a friend i hadn't seen for a while. we were talking and he told me he'd gone to antartica earlier in the year, or at the end of last year, i don't remember, but he'd gone to argentina and then taken a huge boat for two and a half days through rough seas. most of the people on board spent the entire time wanting to die but he was fine he said b/c of all the halfpipe/vert stuff he'd done when younger. by the time they got to antartica all anyone could talk about was icebergs though.

rrrobyn, Wednesday, 12 September 2007 05:36 (7 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

just read that, based on recommendations--pretty damn good

the bureaucratic nightmare stuff started to piss me off too much, though

mookieproof, Saturday, 3 November 2007 16:33 (6 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Oopsy.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 23 November 2007 21:10 (6 years ago) Permalink

That link just comes back here. Perhaps that is what you meant by 'oopsy'?

Isn't tourism to the polar regions irresponsible?

Alex in Denver, Friday, 23 November 2007 21:13 (6 years ago) Permalink

Hahah, you're right at that, Alex. Here's the real link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/world/americas/24ship.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Ned Raggett, Friday, 23 November 2007 21:14 (6 years ago) Permalink

When I read that I thought, "Oh damn. Hey, it would be neat to be crew on one of those ships."

Maria, Friday, 23 November 2007 21:25 (6 years ago) Permalink

I was on that same boat 3 years ago, in the Canadian Artic! Wierd to see it sunk. It seemed solid enough at the time.

They're pretty cool trips, in these smallish boats. They bring along historians, geologists, etc, to give lectures. Some of the folks on the trip I was on had been on the same boat to Antartica before, and said the Drake Passage was pretty hairy.

As to whether tourism in the polar regions is irresponsible, that's a good question.

pauls00, Friday, 23 November 2007 21:30 (6 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

One of my favorite things in Powell's is the Arctic/Antarctic shelves, because all the spines are blue and it's a really odd visual effect.

I know someone who went to Antarctica and wrote a book on it, but I don't know him well, in that I didn't get a free copy of his book.

Casuistry, Monday, 31 December 2007 21:39 (6 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

They do particle physics down there these days. Here's the ongoing diary of one of the grad students working there, published on the Economist website this week:

http://www.economist.com/daily/diary/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10711348

Meanwhile, my PhD office in a 60s tower block in south east England has no windows.

caek, Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:10 (6 years ago) Permalink

i wonder if i will ever visit antarctica
-- s1ocki, Thursday, March 22, 2007 6:11 PM (10 months ago) Bookmark Link

gbx, Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:18 (6 years ago) Permalink

i want to go skiing and/or climbing on the peninsula

gbx, Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:19 (6 years ago) Permalink

an acquaintance just went, but i haven't seen him since his return

mookieproof, Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:24 (6 years ago) Permalink

From Unusual facilities for employees

in antarctica they had all kinds of crazy shit set up--bars, music rooms, a coffee house--but that was more about us being stuck there than the jobs.

we have pilates classes at my work now. you still get paid but it costs $50 so it doesn't exactly even out.

-- jergïns, Tuesday, 19 February 2008 23:17 (Yesterday) Bookmark Link

jergins you lived in antarctica???? did you "over-winter?"

i just read some website about living in antarctica. it was pretty funny! sounds like there was a lot of shenanigans down there. most of the stories sounded like college and/or being a ski bum

-- gbx, Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:00 (1 hour ago) Bookmark Link

just one summer. yeah, lots of shenanigans, but also 54 hour work weeks. people drank a LOT. and crossdressed a lot. that was a work perk: anything anyone brought down there got left there, so we had a fine choice of wigs and halloween costumes.

-- jergïns, Wednesday, 20 February 2008 00:02 (59 minutes ago) Bookmark Link

caek, Wednesday, 20 February 2008 01:03 (6 years ago) Permalink

SYDNEY, Australia - Scientists investigating the icy waters of Antarctica said Tuesday they have collected mysterious creatures including giant sea spiders and huge worms in the murky depths.

Australian experts taking part in an international program to take a census of marine life in the ocean at the far south of the world collected specimens from up to 6,500 feet beneath the surface, and said many may never have been seen before.

Some of the animals far under the sea grow to unusually large sizes, a phenomenon called gigantism that scientists still do not fully understand.

"Gigantism is very common in Antarctic waters," Martin Riddle, the Australian Antarctic Division scientist who led the expedition, said in a statement. "We have collected huge worms, giant crustaceans and sea spiders the size of dinner plates."

The specimens were being sent to universities and museums around the world for identification, tissue sampling and DNA studies.

"Not all of the creatures that we found could be identified and it is very likely that some new species will be recorded as a result of these voyages," said Graham Hosie, head of the census project.

The expedition is part of an ambitious international effort to map life forms in the Antarctic Ocean, also known as the Southern Ocean, and to study the impact of forces such as climate change on the undersea environment.

Three ships - Aurora Australis from Australia, France's L'Astrolabe and Japan's Umitaka Maru - returned recently from two months in the region as part of the Collaborative East Antarctic Marine Census. The work is part of a larger project to map the biodiversity of the world's oceans.

The French and Japanese ships sought specimens from the mid- and upper-level environment, while the Australian ship plumbed deeper waters with remote-controlled cameras.

"In some places every inch of the sea floor is covered in life," Riddle said. "In other places we can see deep scars and gouges where icebergs scour the sea floor as they pass by."

Among the bizarre-looking creatures the scientists spotted were tunicates, plankton-eating animals that resemble slender glass structures up to a yard tall "standing in fields like poppies," Riddle said.

Other animals were equally baffling.

"They had fins in various places, they had funny dangly bits around their mouths," Riddle told reporters. "They were all bottom dwellers so they were all evolved in different ways to live down on the sea bed in the dark. So many of them had very large eyes - very strange looking fish."

Scientists are planning a follow-up expedition in 10 to 15 years to examine the effects of climate changes on the region's environment.

scott seward, Wednesday, 20 February 2008 05:43 (6 years ago) Permalink

JPGs of giant sea spiders?

caek, Wednesday, 20 February 2008 14:54 (6 years ago) Permalink

OK, ugh

caek, Wednesday, 20 February 2008 14:56 (6 years ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

i just saw werner herzog's new movie about antarctica. it's called encounters at the end of the world. some cool stuff in there.

-- s1ocki, Wednesday, 12 September 2007 06:17 (6 months ago) Bookmark Link

Opens june 11.

caek, Thursday, 13 March 2008 18:59 (6 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

The galley at the South Pole, 1975

caek, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 02:04 (6 years ago) Permalink

1979

caek, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 02:05 (6 years ago) Permalink

first picture looks like something out of LOST

jergïns, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 02:10 (6 years ago) Permalink

More amazing photos: http://www.southpolestation.com/trivia/trivia.html

caek, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 02:14 (6 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

sounds great fun:

http://www.thehousenextdooronline.com/2008/06/great-ecstasy-of-icecarver-werner.html

caek, Thursday, 12 June 2008 22:33 (6 years ago) Permalink

this is one of my favorite threads ever.

Maria, Thursday, 12 June 2008 22:38 (6 years ago) Permalink

El Tomboto, Thursday, 12 June 2008 22:43 (6 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...
4 months pass...

anyone interested?

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/fbh/928514274.html

clotpoll, Saturday, 22 November 2008 01:17 (5 years ago) Permalink

I have my suspicious on that. All the US Antarctic hiring is done through Raytheon:
http://rpsc.raytheon.com/Employment/

Chris Barrus (Elvis Telecom), Saturday, 22 November 2008 01:38 (5 years ago) Permalink

suspicions

Chris Barrus (Elvis Telecom), Saturday, 22 November 2008 01:38 (5 years ago) Permalink

apparently bad-ass enough to allow a zombie with no pupils on his expedition team

congratulations (n/a), Monday, 14 February 2011 22:33 (3 years ago) Permalink

and the dog on the far left is a shapeshifter!

uncle twikkelingssteurnissen (unregistered), Monday, 14 February 2011 23:05 (3 years ago) Permalink

has anyone seen this?

http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff/node/461

caek, Monday, 14 February 2011 23:07 (3 years ago) Permalink

apparently it's been screening on discovery in the UK

caek, Monday, 14 February 2011 23:08 (3 years ago) Permalink

Robert Scott's abandoned hut is just astonishingly beautiful and terrifying (you can see some high-res photos of it here and here: best viewed in full size). some of the furnishings came from the Shackleton Expedition, which reused the hut years after Scott met his doom.

that video looks interesting, caek. I hope it shows up on Discovery in the US at some point.

uncle twikkelingssteurnissen (unregistered), Monday, 14 February 2011 23:21 (3 years ago) Permalink

i read the worst journey in the world last year and posted this:

Will finish The Worst Journey In The World this weekend. Incredible book. Surprisingly funny. Not Jeeves and Wooster, but occasionally laugh out loud good. And obviously what happened is incredible and it can't help but be thrilling. It's a bit "one crevasse after another" (lol sounds like my friday night) for the first 300 pages or so, but from the winter journey to the penguin rookery onwards (obv. including the polar journey) it's just wonderful. And I really enjoyed the unusual structure of the last couple of hundred pages, which is assembled from diaries of multiple people in multiple parties and ends up jumping backwards and forwards revealing what happened in a rather crafty way (although obviously you know the basic story).

caek, Monday, 14 February 2011 23:24 (3 years ago) Permalink

tl;dr version: read if u like antarctica

caek, Monday, 14 February 2011 23:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

caek, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 00:43 (3 years ago) Permalink

south pole bar, winter 1977

caek, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 00:44 (3 years ago) Permalink

first sunrise after winter, 21 september 1977 just before flights start arriving again
and this is what they sang http://www.southpolestation.com/spring/c130.mp3

caek, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 00:53 (3 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

caek, Saturday, 5 March 2011 01:05 (3 years ago) Permalink

caek, Saturday, 5 March 2011 01:05 (3 years ago) Permalink

caek, Saturday, 5 March 2011 01:06 (3 years ago) Permalink

this appeals to me on so many levels, make me sad that I've not seen places like this for myself.

not_goodwin, Saturday, 5 March 2011 01:27 (3 years ago) Permalink

7 months pass...

Cool!

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Friday, 7 October 2011 15:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

(the zombie guy is frank wild)

mark s, Friday, 7 October 2011 15:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Great stuff (and a link to the original piece if you'd like to go all in).

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 16 November 2011 23:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

nature had a seriously good week this week, with these mountains and ionian water

caek, Wednesday, 16 November 2011 23:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

european even

caek, Wednesday, 16 November 2011 23:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

4 months pass...

toandos, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 02:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

In which mark s digs deep, with Scott/Amundsen as a launching point for all kinds of things:

http://freakytrigger.co.uk/ft/2012/04/inuit-science-and-the-commodification-of-victory-scott-versus-amundsen-a-century-on/

Ned Raggett, Monday, 30 April 2012 14:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

deep into the zone of pitchforkmedia

Ms Tum-Bla-Wi-Tee (nakhchivan), Monday, 30 April 2012 14:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

"I'm going online, I may be some time..."

second dullest ILXor since 1929 (snoball), Tuesday, 17 July 2012 19:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

4 months pass...

RIP Nick Johnson, writer of the terrific Big Dead Place book and blog: http://feralhouse.com/nick-johnson-rip/

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 6 December 2012 08:44 (1 year ago) Permalink

Yeesh. Heavy stuff. Rip.

caek, Thursday, 6 December 2012 10:32 (1 year ago) Permalink


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