Travel Log: December 8th, 2000

Dateline: 5 PM Friday December 8, 2000
South Pole

Randy writes:

vistaWe arrived at about noon today after a three hour flight from McMurdo. The flight to Pole was much nicer than the one down to McMurdo. It is shorter and less crowded, and we were in the cockpit for most of the ride over the Trans-Antarctic Mountains and the Beardmore Glacier. Incredibly beautiful!

It is a warm day today:
Temperature: -27.3°C, -17.1°F
Windchill: -43.8°C, -46.8°F
Barometer: 693.6 mbar
Physio Altitude: 10116 feet

Pole is a magical place. If you have been here, then when you return it almost feels as though you never left. It is really a nice first day at Pole -- especially clear sunny skies and warm weather, at least for here. It is hard to describe. One gets off a loud dark LC-130 cargo plane and steps out into bright sunshine on a flat white surface. The engines of the plane are roaring in the background, as they do not shut them off because of the cold, and then the cold hits you. Crisp and sharp.

The station is really filled up -- 224 people tonight. I am in a Jamesway which is a canvas-covered structure. I have my own space and now that I found my room it is great. I am close to the door so I hope people are careful about not slamming it. It was hard finding my room today because all the lights are out as some people sleep during the day. Actually day and night here are all the same; the only things that change are the where in the sky the sun is (not how high) and when the meals are served. I have my flashlight out and ready for the next time.

We are taking it easy today as we can already feel the effects of the altitude. I am drinking liquids every chance that I get. Right now I am out at the Dark Sector in MAPO (the Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory) getting things set up for later in the week. There is a lot of activity out here on the CARA telescopes. By the way the "Dark Sector" is an area set aside for research, and by dark they mean that there isn't any radio transmission so that signals do not interfere with the telescopes.

vista vista

Go on to the
next day...