TEA Banner
TEA Navbar

27 December, 2002

Life at F6

The F6 hut is a wooden structure with two rooms and a large entranceway. It faces Lake Fryxell with a large mountain rising up behind it and Commonwealth Glacier to the north which feeds the streams. To the south are more mountains and at the end of the lake is Canada Glacier. When we stepped off the helicopter it felt something like being dropped on an alien planet. A few skuas have joined us, and it is comforting to have another life form here with us.

I had a down moment after talking to my family on their Christmas. Remember: I am a day ahead of you all in the US. It took me a day or so to shake it off. I really missed them and started counting the days until I come home, but I stopped that thinking quickly. I can not let myself spend time missing this experience or wishing it away! It will pass quickly enough and then it is over, so I plan to embrace each new experience.

We spent time organizing the food in the kitchen and the sample bottles and science supplies in the lab room. I'm writing this journal at the desk in the lab. We have a phone and e-mail access, so our roughing it isn't all that bad. We each have our own tents so they are roomy. My sleeping bag is thick with a warm fleece liner and is on top of a thick insulated pad and air mattress. The chinstrap penguin is sitting next to my camp pillow, and the blanket Mrs. Janis from Kennedy Jr. High School made for me is on top of the sleeping bag. It's homey and I think it will be warm! The KJHS flag is flying next to the hut.

Now for the bathroom situation. If you do not like gross stories, skip this paragraph, but many of you have asked, so here is the scoop. We have a latrine. It even has a moon on the door like in the old days! But, then life gets difficult. All human waste must be flown out of the Dry Valleys, so there are special procedures for going to the bathroom. There is a toilet seat over a bucket lined with a plastic bag for solid waste, but all liquid waste must go in a different container. That is something of an inconvenience! All of us must take turns emptying the urine bottle and the solid waste bucket. Not a fun job! Whenever you leave camp, you must carry a P bottle with you because it is against the Antarctic Treaty to let urine discharge on the ground. And of course everyone has one in their tents so they do not have to walk to the latrine in the middle of a cold, cold, night. So now you have it! Bathroom stories from Antarctica!

1. It takes a lot of food to feed six people for six

weeks. We have some back ups stored on top of the shelves, and others are in boxes outside. We don't have to worry about rain, raccoons, bears, mice, ants or any of the other things that could ruin food back home. We DO have to be sure to weight everything down in case of a katabatic wind storm.

2. These are the huge grey water and urine barrels

that will be sling loaded under a helo and flown out of Antarctica after they are full. Grey water is any water that has been used for washing hands, dishes or brushing teeth.

3. The view from the front steps of F6. My tent is on

the right. Nice view don't you think!

4. A look inside the infamous outhouse. Notice the

bucket with the blue toilet seat and the large carboy bottle with the funnel and "P" marked on the side. I will have a whole new appreciation for running water and flushing toilets by the time I get home!

Contact the TEA in the field at .
If you cannot connect through your browser, copy the TEA's e-mail address in the "To:" line of your favorite e-mail package.