Once I landed at McMurdo Station, my journey to the south pole wasn’t nearly over. Ahead to explore was Antarctica’s largest outpost of humanity: McMurdo Station. Photos
My time at McMurdo was a welcome, but brief rest fro the constant travel – just enough time to do a small bit of exploring. After the big tractor/bus drove us off the frozen sea and into the center of “town”, we were all ushered into the main building for a brief orientation.
Orientation consisted of station safety briefings, logistics, and dividing the entire flight up into groups based on who people were working with, if they were scientists, and if they (like me) were transiting through to a field camp or to pole. Also in orientation, we heard all about the facilities and services available. It really is like a small town, with everything you’d expect. Including a gym, coffee houses, social spots, bars, etc.
After orientation, I went to the cargo barn to pick up my bags, and then found my way over to my dorm for the night. It was a small 2 story building, built on skis, but sitting on the dirt at the end of town. My dorm overlooked the helicopter landing area, and it was very interesting to see the helicopters take off and land, carrying various teams of scientists.
McMurdo has a huge galley, which feeds the entire town.
Once I had settled into my dorm room, I spent a bit of time exploring town – including making it up to the Carpentry shop, larger dorms, and hospital.
After a bit of exploring, I heard from one of my travel buddies that we had been manifested on the next morning’s flight to NPX (South Pole), so we all had to go get our bags and weight them in to the cargo department, for departure early the next morning. To get on the flight, EVERYTHING, including yourself needs to be weighed. This is so they can calculate the correct amount of fuel, ensuring that they have enough incase the flight “boomerangs” – makes it close to the destination, but then has to turn back because of weather preventing a safe landing.
Overal, my 12 or so hours in McMurdo were fun – lots of exploring, and seeing a bunch of people I vaguely recognized – including my old friend Suny, who was one of the people who helped me get the job down here in the first place. Cheers Suny!