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4 December, 2002

4 December, 2002

Snowing again. Flight postponed 2 hours. Rats. After breakfast, I walked down to the generator, the holy church of 24 hour noise at McMurdo, and recorded some sounds. Back to the room in time to take a shower, and the flight is moved up! Leaving now!

Same ride in same Delta monster truck (where was a DELTA when I got the van stuck on the beach last summer??). Skeptical when we got on the plane, I started believing when the first motor started. A long long long taxi, then up! To the Pole! Every young boy's dream !

Another long flight, but much less crowded. I was able to go up in the cockpit and check things out. It was a lot like the Cessnas I used to fly, except just a little more complicated, and a flight deck crew of 5. I also got out the contact mikes and recorded the plane itself, and made a nice movie of the Transantarctic Mountains I saw from the window.

Then the pole, and we were out. First smell: diesel exhaust from the fork lift unloading the cargo. The plane was back in the air by the time we walked inside the dome. We had a great lunch in the galley, which was certainly more intimate than the immense one at McMurdo. Orientation video: drink lots of water, do little the first 2 days, be nice, drink lots of water. And the water part is true. This is the driest place I've ever been. I feel it in the nose & skin & eyes. And the altitude is up above 10,000 feet, and I felt crappy, so I found Bai, from the Bartol Research at the University of Delaware, and he helped me find my way to my accommodation in a "Jamesway": a temporary housing structure about a quarter mile away from the dome, partly through a maze of under snow catwalks following pipes and cables, then out into the bright bright bright sunlight, and find the luggage, and collapse for a while.

Took a nap, and did computer chores, and read, and went for dinner. Oh. It's 8:30. Dinner's over. But there were some treats out, and I ate a few of them, and back to the Jamesway, with a free official Pee Can in hand, because the bathrooms are 50 feet away over snow.

Pole. Altitude. Ouch. Like getting over the flu. It will be better tomorrow.

-- Eric Muhs

From somewhere near the South Pole

December 2002

To see movies, quicktime vrs, sound files, panoramic pix : http://www.drachen.org/default.html

To read journals and see pix: ../tea_muhsfrontpage.html

It's cold and noisy on the plane. But just as the hood of my parka prevents me from hearing anyone, it blocks out some, repeat some, of the plane noise.

We are finally getting on the C-130, bound for the pole !

The view out the porthole : white. But then it cleared up, and I got some fabulous mountain shots on video (see the drachen site). I also used the movie function on my still camera, and it strobes and caught not only the props, but the condensation vortices spiralling off the propeller tips.

See, the seats are goofy because they're cargo seats. They fold up & out of the way so the plane can haul cargo. But our plane to the pole was pretty empty.

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