End of the earth

The communications satellite is in the right spot over Antarctica, meaning the Pole has good phone & internet connection for 10-12 hours a day (starting about 3 am pole time). Not that time means much at the pole (a poet can circle the pole and stand in every time zone in less than a minute — rather disorienting for a poet). Charlie Kaminski took me on an epic walking tour to see, well, everything! Clean Sector ERO, Dark Sector, the drill location of the ICECUBE project, Skylab, the new Station, the old Dome, and various old pole (under-dome) facilities that are still toiling on in their icy subterranean world… including the south pole communications center (!), NSF offices, sleeping berths, data rooms, frozen food piled everywhere, a gym/weight room, an old library, and offices for projects being “retrograded” (ended altogether) or moved over to spots in the big gleaming new South Pole Station. It is cold, but the Polies call it summer outside (the South Pole NSF van is working now). Temp: -50, -80 with windchill. Sun all night long. Charlie and I ended the day dumpster diving in the “Skua Shack” which is the South Pole version of a free thrift store. Sunny, but it was 11:30 pm when I got back to my room in the new Station “Berthing” – Wing A1, Room 211. Snugly & smartly designed, as if for a submarine. Altitude correction based on yesterdays barometric pressure: 11000 feet above sea-level. Aside from the strange feeling that I am made of lead (about 500 lbs of lead), I feel quite fine, no altitude sickness persay.

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