Goodbye Summer. Hello Winter.

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.

A sign in front of the South Pole Station

The United States Antarctic Program welcomes you to Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station – 90° South – Established 1957

The last LC-130 Herc for the 2012-13 summer season

The last LC-130 Herc for the 2012-13 summer season – note the contrails behind the plane

Winter-overs head back into the warm station after seeing the last plane depart.

Winter-overs head back into the warm station after seeing the last plane depart.

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2 Comments

Filed under Antarctic, Flights, South Pole

2 responses to “Goodbye Summer. Hello Winter.

  1. warbirdali

    Heading back in after the last plane out must be a strange feeling…don’t know if “Scary” or not but I would imagine you would feel very isolated?

  2. Bonnie Foz

    Whoa, Marie!—–Just catching up with your emails—-The Last Plane til Oct/Nov? Wow. It must be a strange feeling, seeing that one depart. I’m going to read on…………

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