I will write more later, post something about my season at Byrd and much more about the Pole, winter, and what I’m doing here, but for now this is a brief note to say that I have made it to the South Pole and we have officially closed for winter! I will be working as the one and only “wastie” or “waste management specialist” managing everything being thrown away. We recycle over 70% of our waste. Everything, save the sewage/greywater from the station, gets packaged up and flown or shipped back to the states in the summer.
The last plane left today, closing the station with 49 people. This is including 5 Twin Otter crew members who will leave sometime next week. The next plane to arrive isn’t due until late October or early November depending on temperatures and weather. 9 months. No planes. No mail. No freshies other than those we grow in the greenhouse. And no people other than the 44 of us “winter-overs.” The sun will set on the March equinox and it will grow very cold, and very dark, until the September equinox when it will rise again, and we will prepare for the summer crew to arrive around Nov 1.
It’s been a hectic past few weeks as I transitioned from Byrd to McMurdo, had a week of R&R in beautiful New Zealand, and then came back south for training in McMurdo and turnover at the South Pole. The next few weeks will be a rush to get everything wrapped up and staged for winter and then we tuck in and try to stay warm.
It’s currently -54F and the sun is shining brightly 24/7. Good bye Summer. Hello Winter.