The Polar Project

Atmospheric Phenomena
Atmospheric Phenomena

Day 10; February 1, 2009; Vesleskaervet, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica Average Daily Temperature: 15.26˚ F Average Daily Wind Speed: 23.04 mph Feels Like: -19.30˚ F Today there were snow and wind storms all day, requiring that we stay inside. I spent most of the day writing, studying up on some of the features of my equipment, and watching the blizzard intermittently hide the mountains to the south. I have been staying up late each night in order to watch the sun do its now nightly dip below the horizon. Tonight’s sunset was quite a treat, and I experienced my first sun pillar. A sun pillar is a beautiful atmospheric phenomena…read more »

Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace

Day 9; January 31, 2009; Vesleskaervet, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica Average Daily Temperature: 14.36˚ F Average Daily Wind Speed: 20.36 mph Feels Like: -16.18˚ F The day came on with force, due to my finally managing a good night’s rest, and while I was seeking my morning coffee, I made arrangement’s with Richard Duncan, the SANAE team 47 overwintering mechanic, to teach me how to ride a skimobile. We scheduled the lesson for 3pm, which gave me some time to write and email before lunch. Richard was a fantastic instructor, and in no time I was whizzing around in front of the station, practicing turns and getting used to the…read more »

Living on Ice
Living on Ice

Day 8; January 30, 2009; Vesleskaervet, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica Average Daily Temperature: 15.26˚ F Average Daily Wind Speed: 22.82 mph Feels Like: -18.97˚ F My first day at SANAE felt a bit like the first day of school. The splendid, albeit institutional, accommodations coupled with the rules and safety regulations orientation had me oscillating between the pure excitement of being were I was, and the childhood irrational fear that that arose when the first school bus of the year peaked around the bend. But the mood of the base, and of the fantastic people who live and work here, was quite jovial, welcoming, and intimate. With only 80 people…read more »

Encountering the Sublime
Encountering the Sublime

Day 7; January 29, 2009; Vesleskaervet, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica Average Daily Temperature: 15.3˚ F Average Daily Wind Speed: 22.82 mph Feels Like: -18.97˚ F Yesterday morning, I awoke to a wild wind and intense anticipation. After a quick shower, I put on the first layers of gear, looked over the rest of my bags, making sure all was accounted for. My phone rang, and Thomas said the flight was confirmed and he’d be over straight away. Just enough time for a quick coffee, checkout, and then off we went to fetch Alfons and head to the airport. The flight departed from the Cape Town International Airport, and the television…read more »

Wonderstruck
Wonderstruck

Day 6; January 28, 2009; Flight to SANAE Station, Vesleskaervet, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica Average Daily Temperature: 19.4˚ F Average Daily Wind Speed: 26.17 mph Feels Like: -19.85˚ F Today, I do not have words. I must show you……read more »

Due Course
Due Course

Day 5; January 27, 2009; Cape Town, South Africa We continue to happily endure the seemingly never ending process of preparations, and spent the day getting extra tripod plates, DV tapes, a wind jammer for the microphone, s-rings, distilled water for our backup-power fuel cell, emergency blankets, signaling mirrors, a sound card for Ntsikelelo, and other random pieces of the equipment puzzle. Early in the day we stopped by Bobby De Beer’s warehouse where much of the ITASC’s mobile base was constructed, and met many of the people who built the three structures. At the end of the day, worn out from all the to and fro, Thomas dropped me…read more »

Solar Eclipse
Solar Eclipse

Day 4; January 26, 2009; Cape Town, South Africa Dawn seemed to arrive too quickly, and while I was excited for the morning’s events, I awoke somewhat reluctantly to meet the day. Today was the New Moon, and also an Annular Eclipse of the Sun, which was partially visible from Cape Town.  I had brought film with me to document this eclipse for a Light Recording installation I want to create. Having never recorded a solar eclipse before, I was eager to stand witness as the moon traversed in front of the sun, which it would do just after it had risen above the horizon. Thomas had arranged for me…read more »

Meeting the team
Meeting the team

Day 3; January 25, 2009; Cape Town, South Africa The morning started with a bit of a technological jam—my cell phone, which I use as my alarm, didn’t adjust to local South African time from Amsterdam, and was off by an hour.  So, as I was just sitting down to breakfast and coffee at 8am thinking I had a nice leisurely hour to awaken to the day, Thomas walked in to fetch me.  As it was in fact 9am, and we had to leave at once to pick up Alfons and head to SANAP for our gear fitting, I gulped down what I could in a few minutes, and off…read more »

Traversing Africa
Traversing Africa

Day 2; January 24, 2009; in flight from Amsterdam to Cape Town The plane arrived almost an hour early to Amsterdam, due to the 115 mph tail wind, which was fortunate because my scheduled layover was hardly sufficient to grab a quick bite to eat and reach my connecting flight in time.  This is the third time in the last two months that I have been through this airport, and my hope was to find the little gourmet bakery I had enjoyed last time before having to endure the dreaded airplane food, which I would no doubt be subjected to on the very long flight to Cape Town. Approaching my…read more »

En Route
En Route

Day 1; January 23, 2009; in flight from Boston to Amsterdam As we began the ascent to 39,000 ft, nearly two hours ago, I looked back out my window toward the waning lights of Boston, which dimmed by my growing distance. Tiny luminous points of light, poised static in the blackness, formed a nebula in my mind. A real star, tinier yet, hovered just above tip of the plane’s wing, glowing like a beacon to the lights below. My journey to Antarctica has truly begun. No more preparations. No more arrangements to be made. No more wishing. I’m en route, toward the farthest reaches of our planet. The feelings and…read more »