So it’s that time of the year. Even here in McMurdo, we suffer the tourist. The Krasin has beaten a path into us and the vessels can now arrive so tourist have started to arrive at random intervals. How odd that we as “residents” of McMurdo are amused at the tourist that come into our world. Like any culture that has tourists, we chuckle, and point fingers at them and much like old icers do with the fng’ees that come down, amuse ourselves with their folly.
Of course it does dawn on us from time to time that we are but tourists of this island ourselves. Kept on an ever tighter leash from ourselves, forced to maintain a campus like dorm room experience, just outside the largest superfund site in the US inventory, we are just as much a tourist as those that are helocoptered in from a cruise ship like the Krasin or her sister ship. This year I’ve heard of one person who is right now at something like 12 months and is wintering (so add 8 months), and this person’s not usual. (they are a beaker or associated with the scientist so they’ve managed to skirt the general rules) The average “long term” stay for someone down here is 14 months which is what Bill did last year.
So 14 months near ice that’s been here for 2000 years. Ice that can claim to have seen the breath of Christ himself. It still amazes me sometimes when I wake up to think about this place. Of late I’ve been caught up in the daily grind of work, which gets to you even place like Antarctica. Then I walk outside of my cage. I look up on these beautiful days when Erebus is smoking like a feigned and the sea ice is melting pools of brine on it’s surface. You remember that the sun’s not going to set for another 2 months, and that you’ve got a long day to go running, or hike to hut point, or fly a kite.
It is a beautiful place to visit for a while. No matter how cold it gets down here.