So the sun has finally risen, and all is good with the world. One of best benefits of this time of year is the amount of natural lighting coming in thru the new station’s windows. The lighting fixtures in the berthing rooms are some of the worst I’ve ever seen. The quality of the light is adequate, but the ballasts are incredibly cheap in quality. They emit a really annoying buzzing sound that nothing can fix, despite the best efforts of the techs on station. I figured I’d get used to the noise fairly quickly, but for some reason it seems to have become more and more of an irritation as the winter has gone on. Thankfully the sun is finally far enough up in the sky that plenty of natural light is available. In fact there is so much light that I’ve got to put cardboard up in the windows at night in order to make it dark enough to sleep!

The temperatures are slowly starting to warm up, but with the warm weather comes the worst storms of the season. Our heavy equipment operators have been driven crazy lately as they try to construct the skiway for this years opening. It takes about six days of constant grooming of the snow to make the skyway, but lately they’ll get about two days into it when a storm will show up and wipe the whole thing out. Our first flight is scheduled for 10 days from today, so we’re kind of cutting it close.

In other news, I’ve just signed a contract to spend the next Antarctic winter at Palmer station! This is a small base on the peninsula part of the continent which specializes in biologic research. The population next winter should be somewhere around 20, which will be a VERY nice change from the current winter population at the pole of 75. Getting there will require a four day icebreaker ride across the Drake passage which separates the southern tip of Chile from the northern part of the Antarctic peninsula. I’m looking forward to that almost as much as the entire winter! The picture below is the station during the summer months.

Of course before that happens, I’ll be traveling a bit again. My schedule for the next few months looks like this:

November: Australia
December: Africa (Treking to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda, and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania)
New Years: Visiting my brother in Germany
January: The Middle East Egypt, Jordan and Israel
February: Back in Texas
March 7th – October 20th: Palmer Station
October – ??? Come home overland thru South and Central America

It’s going to be a fun year!

4 Responses

  1. Adam Stanhope

    Hello from Kingston, Massachusetts. This is the first of what should be many comments left by readers of today’s Salon.com’s Ask the Pilot in which Patrick Smith links to you.

    Reply
  2. Robert

    Henry, you told me once that people tend to go to Antarctica for three reasons.
    The first trip is for the adventure.
    The second trip is for the money.
    The third trip is because you no longer fit into normal human society.
    Well, I guess a third trip was unavoidable then… you never fit into normal human society. That’s what everyone loves about you.
    If your stateside journeys this winter bring you close to Kentucky, feel free to drop by Louisville. I’ll take you to the horsetrack and show you my uncanny ability to pick losers.

    Robert

    Reply

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