Thursday, August 21, 2008


I'm getting a little homesick, feeling the weight of this long, dark season. One thing that always cheers me up is to see pictures of my son, Conan. He's a 20-month-old red Pembroke Welsh Corgi. He's living with his parents, Daisy and Roper in Helena, Montana now. I can't wait to get back and roam the dog park with my buddy. He's the greatest dog of all time.


Well, the sun is officially back. I haven't seen it yet, but I know a few people who have. There's a great big mountain (Mt Erebus, a 12,000 foot active volcano) north of us, which blocks our view of the first sunrises. By going out to Pegasus airfield, or up to the top of some hills around town, it is possible to see the sun.

It is getting remarkably lighter every day-- it's a welcome sight. It has been a long, dark winter. The last time I actually saw the sun was April 24th-- 123 days ago! Light is good.

I'm starting to look forward to redeploying, and making some preliminary travel plans. New Zealand is a given, but I'm thinking Australia and Thailand, if it's not too hot. It has been really cold here lately, and I don't think I'm going to adapt to hot weather right away. We had -80F wind chill yesterday. It is just nasty to work outside in that kind of weather, but I sometimes have to do it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Nacreous Clouds

Here are some more pictures of the awesome nacreous clouds from last week, taken by fellow winter-overs Dave Barud and Brian Nelson. Tomorrow is the sunrise! (First time in 117 days. Whew.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Crazy Sky

It really is getting a lot lighter every day. It's amazing how fast the days brighten up. We have been having some outrageous nacreous clouds for the last few days. It looks like the whole sky is on fire. Nacreous clouds, or Polar Stratospheric Clouds ( are vivid, pearlescent clouds high up in the atmospere. They are often white with pink and blue shimmers, but sometimes they are even orange, red, or purple. I saw some today that had a vivid fuscia color to them. Wild.
I'm getting excited to get out of here, but still enjoying the adventure. Now that we can see the Transantarctic Mountains on the other side of McMurdo Sound, the place doesn't feel so much like the bottom of a well.
Work is picking up, and we're getting ready for the insane rush of activity at Winfly, when the first flights come in. Fresh veggies! Woo Hoo!
(Photos courtesy of Ken Klassy. You can see more at

Thursday, August 7, 2008

T-Shirts and Light

We had a contest for the design of the winterover T-shirts, and the winner was announced last week. I put together this design, but didn't win. I think I may have some shirts printed up anyway. The winterover T-shirt is a tradition-- it shows pride that we survived the winter season, and solidarity with our fellow winter-overs. There were some really professional-looking designs. I don't feel too badly that I didn't win.

It has been getting a LOT lighter lately. I came out of the galley after lunch today, and I couldn't believe the daylight. It is a very noticeable chance from day to day. Two weeks ago, it was too dark to even make out the outline of the Transantarctic Mountains on the other side of McMurdo sound. Now they can clearly be seen for several hours in the middle of the day. The sun doesn't actually rise for eleven more days, but it's getting close enough to the horizon to produce some comparatively bright afternoons. I've definitely seen enough darkness to last me for quite a while.