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Stauchy Blog

Ngorongoro Crater, June 17-18 (JRS)

July 31st, 2008

Ngorongoro Crater is hailed by some as the eighth wonder of the world.  That might be a bit of an overstatement, but after almost 10 days of safari so far, it certainly offered a unique backdrop and fantastic setting for viewing Africa’s big game.

080618d_ngoro-70.JPG

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The Serengeti, June 15-17 (LAS)

July 26th, 2008

Between our experiences in the Mara and yesterdays sightings in Lake Manyara, we had seen almost everything that we could have hoped to see.  Our big hope was to see the wildebeest migration.  We didn’t time the river crossing very well and it seems that the herd had already moved north out of the park.  Fortunately, the other 2 on tour with us were open to finding them and our guide chatted with other guides and eventually found them for us.  They weren’t in the water, but there were TONS of them!  It was excellent!  Our most excellent group:

080617s_serengeti-5-large.jpg

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Starting another Safari! June 13-14, 2008 (JRS/LAS)

July 26th, 2008

After a day of internet and chilling (mostly safely within the confines of the Wildebeest Camp), we jumpped on a shuttle to Arusha, Tanzania.  From there we arranged another Safari.  The Safari in Kenya had not dissappointed, and it certainly left us ready for more, and what better place to go than perhaps the most well-known game park in the world: The Serengeti.  In addition, our 5-day Tanzanian safari started at a beautiful lakeside reserve called Lake Manyara (and ended at the “eighth wonder of the world”, Ngorongoro crater). Read the rest of this entry »

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You’re Under Arrest! June 11, 2008 (JRS)

July 26th, 2008

Last night was the first time that either Jason or I had to bribe a
police officer.  The manager at our hotel suggested a taxi to avoid scams if we were at dinner/out after dark.  So, we took a taxi, like we had done before.  We were pulled over by a police baracade and “arrested” for “refusing to wear our seatbelt”.  You should know here that our driver wasn’t wearing one, and in the past week, noone had mentioned a seatbelt law.  After 10 minutes of discussions with 2 very aggressive police officers, we finally got away for 1300 shillings (around $20) - although they started the bidding at 10000 shillings each.  We met some people today who were hit by the same corrupt police for about $70.  We also learned that the “fine” for the new law is 100 shillings (about $1.50).  We thought about whether or not we should have insisted on them “arresting” us, but you never really know what kind of situation that could have gotten us into.  Most likely, they would have let us go, but perhaps they would have slapped other violations on us, such as resisting arrest or badgering an officer, or who knows what else.  It was definitely a scary experience, especially since we were dealing with real policemen and not some common street thugs.  But, our book had prepared us for such a situation, so we were able to remain reasonably calm and made it through with $20 less, but one more story…

-JRS

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Twinday Safari! June 7-11, 2008 (JRS)

July 19th, 2008

We made arrangements with Kenia Tours for a 5-day Safari that included two days at Lake Nakuru and three days at the Masai Mara, “one of the seven wonders of the world”, as we’d been told over and over.  Lynette had been wanting to do this since she was a kid, and I have to admit, I was really excited as well.  The East African Safari is certainly one of our trip’s highlights and we drove out of Nairobi with high hopes, and we weren’t disappointed.

080609d_masaimara-6.jpg The real King of Africa!

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Even in Kenya…, June 6, 2008 (LAS)

June 29th, 2008

We finally made it to Africa (and the blog finally indicates that)! Before we get into the really good stuff, we have a funny story about one of our first nights in Africa… Read the rest of this entry »

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There’s No Place Like Home, Mar. 24-June 3, 2008 (JRS)

June 29th, 2008

After being in Antarctica for 13 months and traveling for 6, we were, to say the least, very excited about getting back to the US to visit friends and family that we hadn’t seen for over 1.5 years. It was a big sigh of relief as we boarded the plane from Easter Island to LAX (via Santiago and Lima). Over the next couple of months we visited LA, Maui, Georgia, Colorado, and DC.

Our first stop was LA where we met up with a lot of our friends from out time there. We did a Brown Bag presentation at JPL and Parsons about our time on the ice and our travels so far, which seemed to be well-received. It was so great to be somewhere familiar and to see our good friends once again (not to mention get some Coldstone Ice Cream and a Bloomin’ Onion from Outback, just a couple of the many cravings we satiated during our 7 days there).

We then spent a glorious 11 days in Maui (it’s good to have friends who live in Maui). We caught up with our very good friends who lived just down the street from us in LA. We did a bit of touristy stuff and we did a lot of just chillin’ with our friends and relaxing, recovering and re-energizing from our travels.

After that we had a night back in LA, a brief stopover (and lunch with my brother) in Denver enroute to Atlanta where we spent 3 weeks. We spent some time with Lynette’s family (it was so great to re-connect with family after such a long time away), but spent most of our time at the Motorcycle Shop that Lynette technically owns, but really her brother, Joe, runs: Bad Boys House of Cycles.

080417s_ga-1.jpg (Bad Boys House of Cycles showroom)

080426d_ga-12.jpg (By the fire on Lynette’s mom’s property in GA)
Our next stop was Colorado for about 10 days where we visited my Dad and Company there. They have a beautiful new house in the Black Forest just outside of Colorado Springs. It feels like a cabin out in the woods, but is only a few minutes from town. We also caught up with some friends from Denver (although not as many as we would have liked since we, as usual, put off sending out a “get-together” email until the last minute).

080504d_co-0.jpg (the view from Jason’s Dad’s house)
Finally, we went to Washington DC (we had planned on going to Austin, TX, but my Mom and Step-dad ended up having to move to Phoenix before we were able to visit them - luckily we were able to spend some time with them in DC) for my brother’s graduation from medical school. It was a great time there as all of my family was there to celebrate. We then spent an extra week with my brother and his family and had a great visit there.

080517d_dc-2.jpg (the two of us with Dr. Stauch)
Did I say finally… we actually decided to push back our departure for Africa by a week and go to Georgia (partly because I had a major anxiety attack about heading to Africa with absolutely no plans, and partly because we had some unfinished business to take care of at the Motorcycle Shop). After a mad-dash-drive from DC to GA to DC and a quick stop to pick up our passports from the Indian Consulate, we boarded our flight to London and onward to Nairobi, refueled (although a bit apprehensive about living out of a bag again) and ready for some great new experiences in our RTW trip!

-JRS

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Blues Defined, Mar. 18-22, 2008 (JRS)

June 26th, 2008

After Ushuaia, we had a couple of days in Santiago, which was really enough. We were traveling on fumes, both really anxious to get back to the States to see our friends, family, and just familiarity. Despite that, Easter Island turned out to be a great 5 days of relaxation to end the first half of our Round the World adventure.

080319s_ei-37.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

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El Fin Del Mundo, Mar 12-16, 2008 (JRS)

June 19th, 2008

Dubbed as El Fin Del Mundo (the end of the Earth), Ushuaia was pretty much the one place in South America that we didn’t plan out too well, and it ended up biting us. We had to catch a flight from El Calefate to Ushuaia, then a flight to Santiago, via Buenos Aires, which wasn’t too cheap. To make matters worse, since we re-entered Chile via the Santiago International Airport, we were both stuck with a $130 entry fee (the only entry point into Chile that requires the entry fee). Long story short, if we had it to do over again, we would have just left it off the itinerary, and we wouldn’t really have missed out on much. Read the rest of this entry »

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El Chalten, Mar 7-10, 2008 (JRS)

June 19th, 2008

When I was planning the Patagonia part of our South America trip, most of my efforts went towards Torres del Paine, which generally had to be booked in advanced for the high season. The tiny hamlet of El Chalten was really just an afterthought, but after reading a couple of posts on the Thorn Tree, we added in 4 days here, and couldn’t have been happier about it. A cute little town, gorgeous mountian scenery, nice backpacking trails, and best of all, free camping!

080310d_elchalten-20.jpg 080309d_elchalten-5.jpg

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Lynette’s Birthday in Argentina, Mar 5-6, 2008 (LAS)

June 19th, 2008

After a great trip through TdP, we jumped on a crowded and uncomfortable mini-bus across the border into Argentina.  Not a great way to start Lynette’s birthday, but who can say that they have a passport stamp from Argentina on their birthday!

080305d_elcalefate-3-5.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

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Torres del Paine, Feb 29-Mar 4, 2008 (JRS)

June 12th, 2008

We arrived in Puerto Natales after our cruise with Navimag, ready to put together a trip through Torres del Paine, one of our expected highlights of our trip.  We had settled on the 5-day W-Circuit, as opposed to the 10-day full circuit, since we really didn’t have the extra time to spare.  So, once again we downsized our packs a bit and took to the trail.  It certainly didn’t disappoint.  I’m not sure that I would put it up against the Milford Track in New Zealand, but it certainly wasn’t just your average walk in the park.

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Crusin’ Chile, Feb. 25-28, 2008 (JRS)

June 12th, 2008

Something we got from our trusty Lonely Planet, South America on a Shoestring, was information about a budget (well, sort of budget) cruise from Puerto Montt, in the middle of Chile, to Puerto Natales, in Southern Chile.  The three day cruise took us through a nice network of fijordlands with impressive views that just got more impressive as we made our way south.

Here’s a pic of our boat and us on the last day of the cruise:

080228s_navimag-40.jpg  080228s_navimag-19.jpg

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Bariloche, Feb. 17-24, 2008 (JRS)

June 12th, 2008

A little bit of Swiss Alps in the Andes, Bariloche was the location we settled on for our time in the “Lakes District” on the border of Argentina and Chile (about half way down the border).  Situated on a georgous lake surrounded by dramatic mountians, its a very cute little town and we had about a week to explore it and the area surrounding it.  We decided on a three day backpacking trip (the most difficult we’ve ever experienced, turns out) and some time to chill (and unfortunately deal with a bad stomache bug).

080221s_bariloche-0.jpg  080219d_bariloche-76.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

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Puerto Madryn, Feb 15-16, 2008 (JRS)

June 12th, 2008

Puerto Madryn is situated near the Valdez Penninsula, which is known for its diversity of ocean-based wildlife (whales, dolphins, sea-lions, penguins, etc).  We spent a day at the Valdez Penninsula and a day at Punta Tumbo, just south of there, which had a colony of over one million penguins (according to the park ranger).

081215s_pennvaldez-7.jpg  081216s_puntatumbo-12.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

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Buenos Aires, Feb 12-14, 2008 (JRS)

June 12th, 2008

Mike decided to join us for our time in Buenos Aires, so we spent three days exploring the surprisingly modern and safe city. Portenos (residents of BA) are stereotyped throughout South America as being conceited and that they look down upon everyone else. What we found was more of a pride of who they are and an unexpected happiness considering the rough times that Argentina has encountered in recent years. The city itself was wonderful with a wide variety of districts, each with their own flavor. As the Tango capital of the world, we of course had to see a Tango show while we were there as well. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iguazu Falls, Sun-Mon, Feb 10-11, 2008 (JRS)

May 19th, 2008

Iguazu Falls is more impressive than the best picture you might have seen. The falls are so big that a picture just can´t do it justice. The expanse is immense. The best you can do is an aerial photo. Alas, you will find none here, but google it and you´ll definitely want to see it in person! :)

080210s_iguazu-3.JPG    080211d_iguazu-32-34.JPG

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Disappointment in the Pantanal - Feb 5-8, 2008 (JRS)

March 16th, 2008

The Pantanal - The highest density of wildlife in South America, or so the books say.  After our experience there, I don´t doubt that the claim is true, we certainly saw quite a bit of wildlife: caimen (alligators), parrots, toucans, parakeets, hoards of other birds, deer, fox, trantulas (and many other creepies), and even R.O.U.S´s (Rodents of Unusual Size, for those who haven´t seen The Princess Bride).  Unfortunately, it was all a bit overshadowed by a poorly-run tour agency - Gil´s Pantanal Discovery.

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CARNIVAL!, Monday, Feb 4 (LAS)

March 12th, 2008

Carnival in Rio is every-bit as impressive as the hype!  It is a pricey experience, but the costumes and the music of Sambadromo are worth the price to see in person at least once! We also had some very friendly Brazilians near us who were happy to share insight into the parade.  They kept us posted on the famous Brazilians in the parade and their favorite schools and why.  It was great!

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RIO!, Sat-Mon, Feb 2-4 (LAS)

March 11th, 2008

Rio wasn´t quite as scary as we were told that it might be.  We had a great time enjoying the festivities around carnival.  We were a little disappointed with the weather-but in general had a great time.  We also enjoyed the company of our college buddy, Mike, and a friend of his (Sami) for the festivities in Rio!

img_3752.JPG

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Amazon:3, Stauchy:5; Tues-Fri, Jan 22-Feb 1 (JRS)

March 11th, 2008

We spent Tues and Wed settling on a tour agency and preparing for our Amazonian experience.  Given that we had so much time before our flight to Rio for Carnival (more than we expected because of our change in plans in Trinidad, Brazil), we had some very cool individualized options to choose from.  We settled on a private trip through Iguana Tours.  We spent 7 nights/8 days based from their private lodging on Lake Juma and headed into the wilds with Negao, our private guide.  We had some reservations with his lack of ability to speak English, but decided to give it a whirl.  It turned out to be a great decision!

lake-juma-184.jpg (a typical picture of our Amazon Adventure)

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Sunsets, hammocks, and river dolphins, Thurs-Tues, Jan 17-22 (LAS)

February 23rd, 2008

We made our way to the port on Thursday morning and negotiated our spot on a cargo/passenger boat that was set to depart on Saturday afternoon for Manaus.  Since it would be sitting in port for a couple of days getting loaded with cargo, we were allowed to sleep on the boat for those 2 nights for free.  We were able to store our luggage with our hotel from Wed night, so this was a great option.  We eventually found an atm that worked and settled out all of the logistics.  As we sat in the hammocks on Thursday evening, watching a beautiful sunset, we saw our first river dolphins jumping out of the water!  Freshwater dolphins!  We had read about them-but it was so crazy to see.  The river wasn´t very wide here and we couldn´t tell if they were the pink or grey…but very cool none-the-less. 

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HELLO Brazil!, Wed, Jan 16, 2008 (LAS)

February 23rd, 2008

Even getting out of Bolivia was a bit of a pain.  We were immediately met in Brazil with much more friendly people who seemed to like having us there and continually went out of their way to help us…it was literally a 180deg change of experience just by crossing the border…

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Bolivia or Bust (we would say Bust), Sun-Tues, Jan 13-16, 2008 (LAS)

February 23rd, 2008

Bolivia is a cheap place to hang your hat for a while…once you pay the hefty $100 visa fee now required of US citizens.  It is understandable given that we demand that much (and have for a while) for folks visitng the US.  It seems quite ridiculous, actually that we require it of such a tiny 3rd world country.  At any rate, if you have time to hang out there and make it worth your while, perhaps your experience might prove to be better than ours.  For us, the $100 per person fee was the icing on the cake for a ¨not worth it¨chunk of our travels.

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Lake Titicaca & the Secretary General, Jan 11 & 12 (LAS)

February 1st, 2008

The views were lovely.  I wouldn´t have ranked this as one of the most awe-inspiring lakes I have ever seen and in some ways I didn´t think the area met the hype.  We did enjoy a very nice day out and admittedly one of our highlights for the area is the long argument that we had with the “assistant to the secretary general of Isla de Sol”.  If nothing else, it made us realize how much our spanish has improved since our arrival in Lima.

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Getting to Lake Titicaca-Jan 10 and 11 (LAS)

February 1st, 2008

We took the “tourist” bus from Cusco to Puno which included some stops at ruins and a very good buffet lunch stop. We stayed overnight in Puno, and bused from Puno to Copacabana, Bolivia the following day.  We booked this while in Lima.  Knowing what we know now, we were scammed into this bus and paid more than we should have…Alas life is about living and learning, right? 

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APB on my undies! - Wed, Jan 9, 2008 (LAS)

February 1st, 2008

The Chaos in Cuzco seemed to be unending.  We rushed to the hostel where our bus tickets for tomorrow were supposed to be waiting for us.  We checked into room, grabbed our dirty clothes and hit the laundromat next door.  We then went to return Jason´s boot rentals (you may recall we left his in Sydney) and set out for the travel agent that booked our bus tickets.  Noone was there.  We went back to the hotel.  Still no tickets.  We grabbed some mexican dinner (with fabo guac) and went back to grab our clothes.  Alas, all was there except a pair of my underwear.  This, mind you, is a huge deal when you are only carrying 5 (not as big as if one of our 2 pants or 2 shirts were ganked, but still a big deal to us).  After much arguin in Spanish, we paid most of the bill with a promise that the underwear would be returned in the morning when the owner of the machines reopened (they were closing).  We then rushed back to the travel agent who called around and discovered that her runner had essentially forgotten to get our tickets.  She promised delivery by 9pm and gave us her cell phone.  It eventually worked out.  My underwear our now permanent residents of Cuzco as the girl never appeared as promised….oh well…

-LAS 

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Machu Picchu-Fri, Jan 9, 2008 (LAS)

January 23rd, 2008

Machu Picchu.  We made it!  We opted for the hike up.  A few members of the group wannied out for the bus.  i am guessing the “hair of the dog” trick wasn´t going to cut it again.  We were happy that the girl witht he injured leg took the bus - it was painful just to see her hike, let alone the steep climb over the last couple of days - a real trooper.

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Inca Jungle-Day 3, Thurs, Jan 8 (LAS)

January 23rd, 2008

Another beautiful day of trekking throuch Incan paradise.  This morning started (albeit a bit slowly) with a cable car crossing across the river.  It is a fun start to the day of walking.  Shortly into the jaunt, we took a small side hike to a waterfall.  There were tons of coffee trees along the path.  A few were even ripe enough that we picked them and ate the fruit part around the coffee bean…who knew?  At the waterfall, i almost sat on a holy cow huge centepede on the bench - luckily i looked before i sat — couldn~t have missed him!

perubolivia30d-094.jpg   perubolivia30d-097.jpg      perubolivia30d-106.jpgperubolivia30d-103.jpg

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Inca Jungle, Day 2 – Monday, Jan 7, 2008 (LAS)

January 15th, 2008

This morning began with a pancake sandwich.  Yeah, sandwich.  It was holy cow good (well perhaps to all except our friend Janelle).  Essentially a banana, rolled in a pancake, and smothered in maple syrup—you know, the heart-smart good-eaten kind of food!  We left Santa Maria on foot and headed for Santa Theresa.  We were lucky with beautiful weather and some amazing scenery as we made our way across the pass on a path that would definitely make (and did make) those with a fear of heights have some real troubles.

perubolivia30d-035.jpg   perubolivia30d-063.jpg   perubolivia30d-043.jpg
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Cuzco & the start of the Inca Jungle, Sat-Sun, Jan 5-Jan 6 (LAS)

January 15th, 2008

We had hoped to hike the Inca trail while in Cuzco.  We soon learned that lead time is needed in booking the Inca Trail.  We sifted through other options with a local travel agent in Lima and settled on the Inca Jungle, leaving on Sunday.  This is a combination bike-hike that ends in Machu Picchu but doesn´t require advance booking since it isn´t on the government-controlled Inca Trail which requires permits.
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Lima to Cusco, Sat, Jan 5, 2008 (LAS)

January 15th, 2008

Brazilian Visas secured yesterday!  Lima was fairly uneventful.  Jason was feeling the full effects of being in a foreign country with no plans.  As such, we spent the majority of free time planning out the next week or so just to have a bit of stability as we begin working our way through South America and sharpening our spanish skills.  We did spend some time in Miraflores, did a little shopping, and headed down to the beach area.

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Longer in Lima, Wednesday, Jan 2 (LAS)

January 15th, 2008

We spent last night in a hotel near the airport.  Since we were coming in at 11pm, we just decided to go the easy route even though it is more expensive.  We got up this morning, and headed for a hostel in Miraflores and had grand hopes (only to be squashed) of getting our Brazilian visas overnight. Read the rest of this entry »

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Australia in a Nutshell - Dec 7-31 (JRS)

January 5th, 2008

In the interest of catching up on the blog, here´s our trip to Australia in a nutshell.  It was a long month in a campervan with 4 for the first 10 days and 5 for the next two weeks.  If we had it to do over again, we would have probably flown more and driven less.  It was a time of some disappointment, but it was also a time of extraordinary highlights, but mostly it was a time of sitting in a campervan covering large distances.

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We’re Off to See the Wizard - Dec 4-7, 2007 (JRS)

January 1st, 2008

…The wonderful wizard of Oz (or is it Aus?). After a glorious month in New Zealand, we’re here in the land down under. Our 4-person (Neal, a fellow polie, Janelle, our friend from Pasadena who spent the month with us in NZ, Lynette and I) month-long fast-paced itinerary that we have planned out in Australia began after a mad rush to catch our flight out of Auckland (which is now a tradition for us after our last trip to NZ ended similarly). We had a nice flight over the Southwestern Pacific into Sydney, and after a fairly easy experience finding Janelle and a shuttle we found ourselves in happenin’ downtown Sydney.

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Northland - Nov 27 - Dec 4, 2007 (JRS)

January 1st, 2008

After our day at Tongiriro, we made our way up north, past Auckland into Northland. We hadn’t gotten a chance to do that portion of the North Island on our last trip, so it was nice to see something new. We had wanted to see the Bay of Islands before, but our short time in NZ didn’t allow for it. This trip we have more time so we put it on the agenda. The plan was to spend a few days at the Bay of Islands, with a couple of days to explore the surrounding areas and Auckland.

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Tongariro Crossing - Mon Nov 26, 2007 (JRS)

January 1st, 2008

Billed as “The finest day-hike in the World,” the Tongariro Crossing lies smack in the middle of the North Island on NZ.  We had wanted to do it on our pervious trip, but the low-lying clouds and cold weather (we got snowed on the night before) kept us off the trail.  I can’t imagine that it’s the finest day-hike in the World, but it was certainly enjoyable with some very distinct highlights (unfortunately pictures are going to have to wait until we get back to the States and regain access to our laptop).

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Nelson Lakes and Abel Tasman - Nov 22-24, 2007 (JRS)

January 1st, 2008

After our disappointing time at Frans Josef Glacier, we headed north in a hurry in order to spend a couple of days in the Nelson area, including a visit to Nelson Lakes and Abel Tasman National Parks.

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What It’s All About - Nov 14-17, 2007 (JRS)

January 1st, 2008

A couple of days ago, while we were walking through a stunning valley looking at unimaginably steep slopes to tremendous peaks that can’t be seen over the sheer walls of the valley, passing waterfall after glorious waterfall, skirting in and out of the forest, I thought, “This is what it’s all about”.  This is the Milford Track.  The other thing I thought was, “what can I possibly write about this place to give it its due justice.”  The answer is: nothing.  Nothing I can say can describe this place.  My advice: get on the New Zealand department of conservation (DOC) webpage and reserve your spot on the Milford Track as soon as you can.  This is a place that must been seen for yourself.  That said, here’s some words and a few pictures (more can be found in the gallery: http://www.stauchy.net/gallery).

071116_milfordday3_031-38.jpg (The georgous panorama from near the top of the track)

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The Bealey Spur Hut (Arthur’s Pass) - Sat Nov 10, 2007 (JRS)

January 1st, 2008

Yesterday afternoon we hiked up to the Bealey Sur Hut from near the summit of Arthur’s Pass, and this morning we hiked back down.  It was a short, 3-hour hike up a fairly gentle (“easy” according to the DOC lady, although it was a bit of work at times, especially with a pack) slope.  After realizing that the summit routes were too much to bite when we arrived in the early afternoon, the Bealey Sur Hut seemed like a decent chunk to conquer with the rest of our daylight, plus it would give Janelle her first over-night hut experience.

071109sd_arthurspass22.jpg (Lynette and I at the top of the Bealy Spur Hut, overlooking the glorious mountains near Arthur’s Pass).

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The Little Blue Penguins- Nov 3, 2007 (LAS)

January 1st, 2008

When we first read about New Zealand (when we were considering it to be our honeymoon), one of the top things I wanted to see was the little blue penguins that call New Zealand home. During out visit to the Otago Peninsula a few years ago, we went to an open beach where a small colony called home. We had read that they make their way into shore around sunset so we waited around to try to get a peak. After the sun was down and it became too dark to see, we gave up and headed out only to find 2 little blues walking up the road in front of the campervan. It was enough of a spotting to make me content with our first visit to New Zealand. Since we now had another month to enjoy this incredible country, I booked a seating to watch the Oamaru little blue penguins come in at night to feed the young on Janelle’s second night in New Zealand.

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New Zealand - Oct 30 - Dec 4, 2007 (JRS)

December 15th, 2007

We’ve been in New Zealand now for about a month.  We’re currently in the Bay of Islands, getting ready for a couple of days of sailing.  During our spare time we’ve been trying to catch things up through leaving Pole, so once again we’re a month behind.  Luckily, we’ve already been to New Zealand, and we already have an action-packed website all about that trip.  Have a look at http://www.stauchy.net/2004_NZ for a bunch of New Zealand travel goodness!

If you’re curious as to where we’ve been over the past month, check out this calendar: http://www.stauchy.net/RTW/0711.html and it shows where we’ve been on what day.  A lot of the places you can read about from our previous trip, but there’s a few things that we’ve done that we didn’t do before, so we’ll write a few blogs about those things: The “Little Blues” (penguins) at Oamaru, the Milford Track, Nelson Lakes/Abel Tasman, the Tongiriro Crossing, and the Northland (including the Bay of Islands where we are now).  Hopefully we’ll also have some pictures up in the gallery soon.  Until then, thanks for sticking with our blog, and we look forward to sharing our adventures with you!

Here’s a few pictures from the parts that we won’t be blogging about specifically (i.e. we blogged about them before):

071105_mtcook121.jpg (Us at Hooker Lake in front of Mt. Cook)

071109_arthurspass52.jpg    071110_arthurspass03.jpg (Us at the top of the Bealy Spur Track near Arthurs Pass, and in the hut with Janelle)

071111_wanaka41.jpg (Sitting on the shores of Lake Wanaka in the town of Wanaka, one of our favorite places)

-JRS   

 

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Off the Ice - Wed Oct 31, 2007 (LAS)

December 1st, 2007

A quick note that we are OFF ICE, enjoying New Zealand, and wanted to pass along the details of the travel that is to come!  Our usap e-mails will no longer work to reach us as they have been cancelled and we are no longer employees of Raytheon.  So, you need to use our personal email.  If you don’t have it, just leave a comment, and we’ll email it to you (you don’t need to leave your email address, we get that when you register on the blog).  We don’t like to put our email address on our blog in fear of getting spammed.

Anyway, our last week was a rollercoaster of “when we will get to go” and we are glad that we stayed on the first C-130 out as some of our friends have been weather stuck since our flight.  We booked all of our travel finally today.  Jason has put up a travel page: http://www.stauchy.net/RTW (RTW stands for Round-the-World).  Our home will be where our hat is for the next year or so, and we’re excited about our itinerary.  Please spread the word, we’re hoping to meet some folks during travels and meet up for some fun parties in the states…and perhaps bum some couch space and rides at sites in the U.S.  :)

So, check out the RTW page above.  It has a map of where we’re going, and a calendar of where we’ll be and when we’ll be there.  There’s also a link to our flight itinerary, in case you’re interested in that.  We’ll probably add more content there as we go, but the bulk of our stories and pictures will continue to be in our blog (here) and our picture gallery: http://www.stauchy.net/gallery

Hope to see you soon!

-LAS

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Auroras - Mon. Oct. 29, 2007 (JRS)

November 26th, 2007

I’ve been meaning to post a blog (and more importantly, pictures) about auroras for some time now, but just haven’t gotten around to it.  I’ll put all of the pictures in our picture gallery, which can be found here: South South Pole April Auroras, South Pole May Auroras, South Pole June Auroras, South Pole July Auroras, and South Pole August Auroras

Here is some information about auroras, for those who are curious (thanks to Robert Schwarz, who gave a presentation about auroras at the beginning of the winter). Read the rest of this entry »

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Room Tour - Mon. Oct. 29, 2007 (JRS)

November 22nd, 2007

Lots of people have been asking us what the station is like.  Well, we never really got around to doing a full station tour, but we did take a video tour of our room for the winter, which you can find on our video’s page: http://www.stauchy.net/videos.html.

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Winterover Ceremony - Sun. Oct. 28, 2007 (JRS)

November 22nd, 2007

The winterover ceremony is a long-held tradition at the South Pole.  Since the time the South Pole was a military operation, there has been a decree that anyone who winters-over at the South Pole shall receive a metal in honor of the accomplishment.  It’s one of the few ways that a civilian can receive a military honor. Read the rest of this entry »

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Extreme Cam! - Sun. Oct. 28, 2007 (LAS)

November 22nd, 2007

Snow hills can only exist for the intent of climbing up and using gravity to “fall” down.  Before the winter-over ceremony, a few of us decided to use the snow hill and gravity for a bit of last minute south pole fun.  Some were graceful and most were not…

Check out our videos page (http://www.stauchy.net/videos.html) for all the videos, including: Butt sliding, telemarking, snow-boarding, sledding, body surfing, penguin chasing, and most important, SOUTH POLE EXTREME CAM!!!

-LAS

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Final Sunday - Sun. Oct. 28, 2007 (LAS)

November 22nd, 2007

Assuming that weather doesn’t impede movement of planes, today is our last full day at the South Pole.  We focused on final packing, finishing little projects, having our “one last time experiences”, before tonights’ winter over ceremony.

finalsundaysd-010.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

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Aerial Photography - Fri. Oct. 26, 2007 (JRS)

November 18th, 2007

Given all the photography that I had done for Andy, as well as all the pictures I had taken recreationally around station during the winter, Andy asked if I would want to take aerial pictures of the station as part of the bi-annual photo shoot.  I didn’t have to be asked twice…

complexnorth.JPG (South Pole Complex from Grid North)

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Team 2 Pole - Thur Oct 25

November 11th, 2007

At long last, we decided to do our winterover 2007 Team 2 photo during our last meeting of the year.  We all went and got our bunker gear on and headed out to the pole.  Lynette clicked off a bunch of pictures with Emrys’ and our cameras.  The guys also decided to do a “topless” picture, during which the comment was uttered, “this is the coldest I’ve been all year”.  The best part of the whole thing was right as we were finishing up with the pictures, an alarm sounded (we got a radio call), so we all went rushing towards the station, only to hear a few seconds later that it was a false alarm.  Had it been real, it might have been the fastest and most thorough Team 2 response ever!

img_9804.JPG   img_9810.JPG   img_9814.JPG

img_9822.JPG   img_9846.JPG   img_9855.JPG

-JRS

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Turnover - Oct 19-27, 2007 (JRS)

November 11th, 2007

My replacement arrived on the second Basler, along with Al, the Science Support Coordinator (Neal, Nick, and my boss).

071019_2ndpaxbasler44.JPG Read the rest of this entry »

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First Arrivals - Thu Oct 18, 2007 (JRS)

November 11th, 2007

The Basler had a couple of days of delays because maintenance and weather issues.  When it finally arrived, most of the people on station were out on the flight deck to greet the plane (and the freshies that were coming in the the new folks).  It was a really good feeling to get some new folks around station; weird, but good.

It quickly became apparent how socially inept we had all become.  It became difficult to start a conversation with people we had not just spent 8 months with.  There was so much to talk about, but nothing really to say.  It was kind of a strange dichotomy.  For the first several days, the winterovers pretty much sat with other winterovers and the newbies sat with other newbies.  Eventually, people started to integrate.  At first, people who had known eachother from previous seasons, then people would join them, and so on.  The energy of the new people was a breath of fresh air compared with the group of people who were ready to leave.  Although, everyone noted how “well” we were all doing after a winter.  From what we heard, our crew was the least “toasty” crew for some time.  It’s a pretty good sign of how well we all meshed and how few major conflicts we had.
-JRS

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There’s Been an Off-Deck - Sun Oct 14, 2007

November 11th, 2007

“Attention South Pole, there’s been an off-deck.”  Words that hadn’t been heard for about 8 months.  We’d been tracking the progress of the Ken Boreck Air Basler and Twin Otter as they made their way down from Canada, through North and South America down to Punta Arenas, Chile (they couldn’t make the long flight over the pacific).  From there, they flew to Rothera (an English base on the opposite side of the continent from MacTown).  They then headed through Pole in order to refuel on their way to MacTown, where the Basler would pick up our highly anticipated first load of incoming Polies.  They’d been in Rothera for a couple of days due to weather, so we were all pretty happy to hear the announcement that they were in-bound.

071014_firstflights_058.jpg   071014_firstflights_266.jpg

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Sunrise - September 22, 2007 (JRS)

November 5th, 2007

No one really felt too much like partying too hardy by the time sunrise rolled around, but it was still a cause for celebration.  As I mentioned, the weather hadn’t been too great, so it was kind of hard to tell that the time for sunrise had arrived.  The night it was supposed to be appearing, the guys from the heavy shop slow-cooked a whole pig and we all got together in the galley for a meal and a mellow gathering afterwards.  Several groups were still in the galley around midnight when the sun finally decided to show itself.  We could see that the clouds were clearing on the horizon for several hours, so we were eagerly anticipating seeing the sun for the first time in six months.  When it came up, everyone ran to the window to check it out, and we all had a round of shots to celebrate.

-JRS

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The sun is still rising - September (JRS)

November 5th, 2007

Here’s a few more pictures in the land of the rising sun, throughout early September.  Unfortunately, the weather got pretty cruddy leading up to the actually sunrise, so I wasn’t able to get too many pictures with really good sunrise colors.
img_8877.JPG  img_8886.JPG  img_8891.JPG

img_8896.JPG  img_8900.JPG  img_8908.JPG

img_8923.JPG  img_8941.JPG  img_8968.JPG

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Final BBIA - September 16, 2007 (LAS)

November 5th, 2007

On the Sunday before each 2-day weekend, our fantabulous cook, Michael Reehm, prepares the BBIA (Biggest Breakfast in Antarctica).  It’s a fantastic Sunday brunch once a month.  This month, in an effort to make it a tiny bit more special, he asked for volunteers to serve a plated breakfast. 

lastbbia_heidi5.JPG 

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Grand Champion! - September 20, 2007 (JRS)

November 5th, 2007

Having finished an 8-ball league earlier in the season, Michael, one of our chef’s, put on a 9-ball league.  It started in July, and since 9-ball is pretty much a game of slop, I decided to join in.

9ball_heidi2.JPG (Picture courtesy of Heidi Lim)

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80’s Birthday Party - September 8, 2007 (LAS)

November 5th, 2007

In honor of our many September Birthdays here this winter, there was a big 80’s bash in the B1 lounge.  Katie was the spearhead and the decorations were quite a blast fromt he past!  Everyone was encouraged to dress up for the festivities.  Jason and I hit skua to come up with something.  I went all out with big hair and a pleather skirt i found.  We got some short cut-off blue jeans for Jason.  It was quite a sight!

We got some pictures from friends, but we’ve lost track of them, so we’ll have to post them later…

-LAS

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Lunar Eclipse - August 28, 2007 (JRS)

November 5th, 2007

Another once-in-a-lifetime occasion happened tonight: a total lunar eclipse as viewed from the South Pole.  We knew it was coming since Robert had mentioned it during his Astronomy class at the beginning of winter.  He had also sent out a couple of emails in the days approaching, explaining what was going to take place and giving the time-line.  For more pictures see the gallery: Lunar Eclipse. Read the rest of this entry »

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More hints of the sun! - August (JRS)

November 5th, 2007

As August wore on, the evidence of the sun was becoming more and more noticeable during my trips to ARO.  On some days, it was just too enticing to snap off a few pictures.
Here’s a few of the cool photos I snapped throughout August.
 

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img_7897.JPG  img_7917.JPG  img_8873.JPG

 

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August excitement - August 24, 2007 (LAS)

October 12th, 2007

August presented itself with an emergency response to the power plant and our MCI (mass casualty incident) drill.  Throughout the month (at least on relatively clear days) we scanned the horizon for more light from the sun.  Jason was playing in a 9-ball pool tournament and volleyball was still every Thursday and every Sunday.  Beyond that, most of our free time was spent daydreaming about the travels to come and thinking about what we wanted/needed to purchase for the upcoming travels.

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The 10,000 ft. Party, Sat Aug 11, 2007 (JRS)

September 20th, 2007

The 10,000 Foot Party is an idea that our Carpenter/Rec. Coordinator extrodinare had for a charity-event-slash-middle-of-the-season-blowout-party.  One of the most important parts of the evening is that dressing up was encouraged.  So, it gave Lynette and I an excuse to dress to the 9’s.

10000ft-001.jpg     10000ft-002.jpg     10000ft-003.jpg 

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Here Comes the Sun - Fri Aug 3 (JRS)

September 20th, 2007

We have now seen the first sign that the long winter night is coming to an end.  This evening, we ran into Johan in the hall and he asked if we’d seen the glow of the sun yet.  We got geared up and went to the observation deck to check it out.  After our eyes adjusted, here is what we saw:

firstlight04_5sec4.JPG

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Healthier than ever! - Wed, Aug 1st (LAS)

September 8th, 2007

Our PA (Physician’s Assistant), Heidi, has been offering all station personnel a chance to check out our cholesterol levels.  We finally got around to setting this up for this amorning and we also offered to be guinnea pigs for Nick to practice his blood-drawing skills.  This blog captures the morning, our fantastic cholesterol levels and a comparison to the bloodwork we had done last summer before deploying.  Apparently, the ice life suits us fairly well from a physical standpoint :) — We are a minority here as the prompting for the tests is that the majority of station personnel tend to see an increase in cholesterol levels while down here for the winter.

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Tidbits of July - Saturday, July 28, 2007 (LAS)

September 8th, 2007

July has cruised along and we have really come to understand Neal’s description (one of our friends - another science tech) of the winter here at the South Pole:  “The days are long, but the weeks are short.”   Life here is fairly routine with rare glitches to keep it somewhat exciting.  Our excitement seems to stem from life at home.  This blog is a gathering of tidbits and our status for those of you who thought that we were no longer here since we hadn’t updated the blog in 2 months :) Read the rest of this entry »

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Star Tracks, Friday, July 20, 2007 (JRS)

August 18th, 2007

No, not Star Trek.  Being at the South Pole of the Earth can be quite a mind game sometimes.  The passing of days is a bit hard to imagine until you’ve experienced it.  There are a few things that help it sink in that we’re actually at the Pole of the Earth (i.e. the Earth is rotating around us, as opposed to us rotating around on the Earth).  One of these things is watching the start over a long period of time.  Unlike in the ”real world”, where stars journey overhead from one horizon to the other throughout the night, here the stars just continuously circle around our head.  Just by seeing where the stars are, you can figure out what time of day it is.  For instance, when I walk out to ARO in the afternoons, I see Jupiter (the brightest object in the sky) to my right.  The later in the afternoon it is, the further it is to my right.  So, I decided to get a visual representation of this via long-exposure photography.  Ideally, in a 24-hour exposure, each star would make a perfect circle.

Here’s my best Star Track picture, I’ll explain how I got to this point in this blog:

4hours.JPG

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Happy Midwinter, Thursday, June 21, 2007 (LAS)

August 18th, 2007

Something that we never really gave too much thought to back home is the Winter Solstice (or Summer Solstice, for all of you in the Northern Hemisphere).  However, down here, it is quite the big deal.  While you are observing the longest day of the year, our “midnight” was this morning at 0600 and we are now en-route to sunshine.  That means that the sun is about 23.5 degrees below the horizon, and will be making its gradual return until we see it pop above the horizon again in mid-September.

sp-dinner-invitation.jpg   usa_sp-midwinter-greeting.jpg

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Wet T-Shirt Contest, Sat. June 16 (JRS)

August 17th, 2007

This evening, we celebrated three birthdays: Katie (cargo), Bruce (mechanic), and Andy (Winter Manager).  There was quite a bit of build-up because it was a surprise for all three.  So, between the preparation, the groups of people responsible for distracting the three birthday-ees, and the group who had been asked to perform a wet T-shirt contest, there was a lot going on.

Katie_Surprise    Bruce_Surprise    Andy_Surprise

(Katie, Bruce, and Andy just after the entered the surprise party - Pictures courtesy of Robert Schwarz, please do not duplicate)

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Happy Birthday to Me! Thursday June 7 (JRS)

June 10th, 2007

The days down here on the ice tend to blend together, and it’s hard to tell one day from another. Because of that, it’s hard to get excited about any day in particular, even your own birthday. So, I didn’t have very high expectations, but Lynette made sure that it will be a hard one to forget. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oh, What a Feeling!, Thursday May 31st (LAS)

June 10th, 2007

I walked out to ARO with Jason a couple of days ago. I wanted to check out the fire panel for an upcoming radio drill we were planning for emergency response. On the way back we kept looking up at the sky and vast aray of stars. The sky was exceptionally clear again and the Milkey Way was beautiful. For some reason, perhaps from reeling brain cells leftover from my last blog, I started thinking more about how it feels to walk outside while we are here and if I’ll be able to take the “feeling” with me when we go.

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But…What does it Feel Like?, Tuesday May 29 (LAS)

June 10th, 2007

People are always wondering about the amount of darkness and the temperatures that we are experiencing. When we say something like -80degF, but the windchill is -110, noone can even remotely relate….noone can imagine what that feels like…and it’s hard to describe. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hash House Harriers, Saturday May 12

June 9th, 2007

The Hash House Harriers is an internationally known organization that has been around since World War I (according to the Hashmaster, Neal, AKA Sascrotch).  He said that soldiers made up the game in order to keep entertained and to keep in shape.  It continued on as a fun activity that involves chasing the Hare through a course, singing songs, following a set of “rules”, and a couple of drinks.

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Cinco De Mayo, Saturday May 5 (JRS)

June 5th, 2007

Cinco De Mayo has been a Stauchy tradition for the last 4 years now.  All three years that we were in our house in LA, we threw a Cinco De Mayo party, so it was one time of year when we’d miss being “back home”.  As is my custom for the day, I made my world fameous margaritas.

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BF5K III, Saturday April 28 (JRS)

June 3rd, 2007

The third running of the BF5K was today. It’s named after BFK, Big F’ing Kevin, who pioneered the run two years ago. It’s a mix between a costume party and a 5-K race, with a twist.

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Bad Moon Rising, Monday April 2 (JRS)

May 11th, 2007

It’s very interesting to watch the moon’s progression down here. I didn’t notice it much during the summer because you don’t tend to notice the moon when the sun is up. I would notice it from time to time, but in the winter, it’s impossible not to notice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sunset Party, Saturday March 24 (JRS)

May 1st, 2007

The sun only sets once a year down here, so a celebration is certainly called for. As with Thanksgiving and Christmas, the galley staff really outdid themselves, and we had a formal, sit-down dinner in order to celebrate sunset. After that, most of the station hung out in the galley, which with its large picture windows, is the perfect place to watch the sun float across the horizon.  For more, higher-res pictures, see our web gallery: Sunset Party. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Physics of Sunset, Thur March 22 (JRS)

April 22nd, 2007

We’ve learned a few things about the sunset, and it’s relatively easy to see them since everything happens so slowly. It all has to do with the refraction of the light caused by the Earth’s atmosphere.  For more, higher-res pictures, see the gallery: South Pole Sunset.

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The Land of the Setting Sun - Tues March 20 (JRS)

April 18th, 2007

We’ve been living in a world of sunlight for 4 months. The last sunset that we saw was in McMurdo, when the sun would swoop just below the mountains for about an hour a day, back in October. My shadow has been getting longer and longer during my daily walk out to the ARO building. I’ve been taking my time on the walk as the colors of sunset have begun to show on the horizon, and the landscape has transformed in to a myriad of light and shadow. The sun sets only once a year here at the South Pole, and I want to take the time to enjoy it. It’s so weird to see the sun setting.  For more, higher-res pictures, see the gallery: South Pole Sunset.

070314_2.jpg 073021-22_217.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

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St. Patty’s Day - Saturday, March 17th (JRS)

April 5th, 2007

We celebrated St. Patty’s day today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lynette’s Big Revelation – Monday, March 12, 2007 (LAS)

April 5th, 2007

Moriba and Casey, our fantastic friends from CA who moved to Maui shortly before our move to the ice (By the way - you should check out their rental property if you want to go to Maui — http://www.mauivacationcenter.com/), made a video of their new digs, the kids, starbucks, and general shots of maui and sent it to us shortly before closing for winter.  When we finally got a chance to watch it tonight - I had a revelation.

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Wine Tasting – Saturday, March 10, 2007 (JRS)

April 5th, 2007

The first major social occasion after station closing was a night of wine tasting that our physician’s assistant, Heidi, set up.  As we mentioned in a previous blog, we spent a day bringing in all of the alcohol for the winter, and that included a very wide selection of new wines.  So, Heidi sent out an email and collected some money from everyone interested, and we had a wine tasting party.

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Truth or Dare – Saturday, March 3 (JRS)

March 28th, 2007

Today was pretty much a normal Saturday, and quite a few people congregated in the galley after dinner.  Some people had drinks, and some people didn’t.  For the most part, it was just people sitting around talking.  Not incredibly interesting, but it was a good night to get to know some of the folks we’d be spending the winter with.

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31! – Monday, March 5, 2007 (LAS)

March 28th, 2007

Today’s my birthday! Well, not technically, since I actually don’t turn 31 until March 5th on the East Coast of the US (Which is really tomorrow)…but, here on the ice, it’s today and I am 31. As usual, my husband went out of his way to catch me a bit off-guard. It was a fun day - slightly embarrassing - but fun. For all of the pictures that Jason used, see the gallery: Lynette’s Birthday Gallery

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100 Below! - Friday, March 2nd

March 27th, 2007

I looked at the weather scroll and noticed that it hit 100 below today, but that’s with the windchill.  I don’t really pay much attention to the windwhill, but I thought that this was a fairly note-worthy event.  I talked to the Met guy, Timmy, and they don’t track windchill, but he thinks that this is the first day this year that it’s been consistently below 100.  So, for the first time in my life, I get to experience what 100 below feels like.  Perhaps I’ll run outside in shorts, just to make sure I get the full experience.  Perhaps not.

-JRS

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Magnetometer Leveling - Thursday, Mar 1 (JRS)

March 27th, 2007

Today I went out into “the field” to find one of my instruments (The Fluxgate Magnetometer, managed by some folks back at Lucent in New Jersey).  After visiting several sets of flags, I found what I was looking for, as indicated by some writing on one of the flags (one of my more brilliant ideas from the beginning of the summer).  It was pretty uneventful.  The instrument was slightly out of level, so I took a couple of pictures, turned a few knobs until it was level, then took another picture.  Kind of boring, really.  But, as I was wondering around the grounds of the South Pole, I had our new 10-22 mm wide-angle lens, and I took the opportunity to take some shots with it.  That part was fun.

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Tons of Alcohol (Literally)! Wednesday, February Feb 28th (LAS)

March 13th, 2007

This morning, most of that station met in the galley at 0830 to learn the plan for moving all the alcohol currently kept in outbuildings into the unused berthing and storage rooms in the station.  The outbuildings are going cold for the winter, and all that was purchased and brought here needs to be moved inside.  Essentially, one forklift will move pallets of liquor to the base of steps at the A4 berthing entrance and a second lift will bring a pallet load to the entrance at DA.  At each entrance, we will have a human chain to bring the alcohol from the pallet into the appropriate storage location.  It was about 50 people carrying alcohol up steps for about 4.5hours to move 45,000 pounds of liquor.  The slightly frustrating part is knowing that more was ordered than the 55 of us will drink this winter.  That means we will be moving the leftover liquor back out in the spring….a human chain down to pallets to the storage building.  I suppose that is better than running out…
-LAS

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Celebrate the 2-day weekend! – Saturday & Sunday, February 24th &25th (LAS)

March 13th, 2007

On Friday night, there was a showing of the latest James Bond flick.  By the time Jason and I ate dinner and worked the store, we were ready for some showers and laundry (things we had put off due to the craziness of the week).  We skipped out on the movie and spent a quiet night in watching a movie and playing cribbage.  I woke up on Saturday and did some blogging while Jason slept in.  I got him up for lunch (leftover hickory farms cheesse and crackers).  We went back to the room and played some more cards before heading to the gym.  We decided to jointhe race to McMurdo today.  It’s essentially logging 840 miles (the distance from here to McMurdo) during the course of the winter.  It will be a challenge for me to complete (~3.5miles per day), but we decided to use the motivator.  Sunday was another slow day.  We were late risers and then played some cards.  Jason went to the gym while I played volleyball and then I hit the gym while he did some work in the lab before dinner.  Kris (met guy in summer, waste guy in winter) made pizzas for everyone – they were delicious!).  The rest of the evening was easy going – a perfectly timed break from the craziness of closing.
-LAS

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No more flight deck - Thursday & Friday, February 22nd & 23rd (LAS)

March 13th, 2007

I taught classes this morning on bloodborne pathogens and confined spaces before meeting up with everyone who was working the tear down of the flight deck.  We started outside at about 0900 and worked the entire day draining fuel lines, breaking connections, pumping out systems, and rolling up the fuel line from the flight deck all the way behind the station over to the fuel arch.  We put a huge roll on the forks of a truck and used 6 people at a time to spin the roll – it was a huge physical workout and the entire effort took 1.5 days and 1 scary moment for me.

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One Injury per Month - Tuesday, Feb 20th (JRS)

March 13th, 2007

One of the running jokes among some of us here is that Lynette has averaged one injury per month (not that anyone thinks it’s funny that she gets hurt, it’s just ironic, being the safety person and all).  February is winding down, so people are beginning to wonder if the curse could get broken.  Unfortunately, after today, the answer is no, but it didn’t quite follow the tradition.

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Inventory begins – Tuesday, February 20th (LAS)

March 12th, 2007

Today was my first day of working in the “black box”.  This storage unit is to become the central supply for all safety gear on station.  To date, we have had everything strewn about station and no good control on the equipment (specifically the fall pro gear which should be inspected annually).  It will be a long process to pull everything together and fix the inventory issues here – but it will be a great thing for the station if I can get it done.
-LAS

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Stand down and move - Monday, February 19th (LAS)

March 12th, 2007

Today was the first full day of only 54. Since several of us had worked our buns off yesterday, Andy (winter site manager) decided to have an all hands meeting at 1100 and give everyone the afternoon off to recover from the day before. I took the opportunity to do a safety meeting with the station on fire extinguishers. After lunch, Jason and I started moving with full force. I took a break at 1700 to complete respiratory training and fit testing for one of our brigade members. We finished moving our stuff shortly before dinner and then retired to our room after dinner and relaxed. Pictures to come - we promise :) -LAS

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Station Closing - Sunday, February 18th (JRS)

March 12th, 2007

Today was quite the monumental day as far as spending a year at the South Pole goes. With temperatures hovering around -45 C, three flights came and went, and with them, the final group of summer crew left, leaving only the winterovers for the long 8-month push. Lots of hugs, a C-130 with contrails bellowing out behind, one final take off, an impressive low flyby, a waving crowd, and that was that, no more planes in or out for the next 8 months. “The Thing” has been watched, the darkness will soon come, the winter has begun. For more, higher-resolution pictures, see the gallery: Closing Gallery

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Not the Power Plant again! – Monday, February 12th (LAS)

March 12th, 2007

So, I was down in the power plant this morning talking with the winter manager of FEMC regarding training expectations of his folks and where everyone stood when a really annoying alarm made me jump out of my skin.  It was funny that for all the alarms we have had for the power plant, I had no idea what the alarm was.  We usually hear the alarm in the station which sounds different than the local fire alarm in the NPP.  We eventually learned that a cooling fan had not been reset during an earlier brown out of the plant and the temperature at the ceiling level was hot enough to cause the alarm (heat only).  Peace was quickly restored.  I got a lot of crap from the response team that I might be the new cause of alarms, rather than the one to lead the response.
-LAS

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One last late night of gaming! – Sunday, February 11, 2007 (LAS)

March 12th, 2007

One of our good friends of the summer is a GA named Eustacia (Although I tended to call her Bean a lot more frequently).  We won’t hold the fact that she went to Virgina Tech against her.  I came around to Michael Vick when he went to the falcons (he scored some points there at least).  She has been a driving force of the “women of south pole” calendar.  She finally convinced me to do a picture when she pitched her latest idea.

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There’s a plane coming right at me!!! - Saturday, February 3rd (LAS)

March 12th, 2007

Today was my second training day to be a fuelie.  The first official day was spent on the wing.  Today, I was on the nose guiding it into place.  It was a cool thing to have a C-130 coming right at me because I was telling it to J.  I can totally see why fuelies like being fuelies – at least when the weather is nice.  The wing job kinda sucks b/c you carry a freagin’ heavy hose out and back and work controls.  Being the nose guy, however, was a lot of fun.  I talked with comms, waived the plane to me (I even had to make it turn a bit to line up), and then coordinated any passengers.  It was a fun flight to work.

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY (to us)! - Thursday, February 1st (LAS)

March 12th, 2007

This morning, I headed down to the flight deck to run through all of the fuel sampling that the fuelies run through on a daily basis. In the event that we ever have to give fuel to an airplane, it has to be tested for water content, “anti-freeze” content, and particulate content. I am learning to run through these in case we have to give fuel to one of the first flights of the spring season when we open in oct/nov. From there, I returned to my desk, which was now decorated with a 8.5×11” sign that Jason posted on my cube. It was a variety of flower bouquets with calla lilies to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary today. We like to give traditional wedding gifts (1=paper, 2=cotton, 3=leather, and now 4=fruit and flowers). Fruit and flowers is a tough one for the pole. Can’t exactly get those easily here. It was really cute.

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Jason the Fuelie and EPP Training, Wednesday Jan 31 (JRS)

March 12th, 2007

Today was sort of a busy day of “other duties, as assigned”.  I had an appointment with the fuelies to learn what they do when a flight is in, and we had some training about the emergency power plant from the people who designed it.

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There’s a fire in A2, Level 2 - Tuesday, Jan 30th

March 11th, 2007

We started the morning in the gym with a brief meeting with all the winter-overs.  The last of the R&R crew returned from McMurdo yesterday and so we are all here, for better or worse, until we open in the spring (Oct-Nov).  After the meeting, I made my way to the galley as I was one of the planned victims for today’s fire drill and we were testing the system if I wasn’t there to take the lead command. More...

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I’m beginning to look a lot like a fuelie – Monday-Friday, Jan 29th-Feb 2nd (LAS)

March 11th, 2007

I’m not really working as a fuelie these days, but I can’t help but fill in a bit (grabbing this, grabbing that, setting up the fuel line.  We’ve never done any definitive air sampling for the folks who work behind the planes (Cargo and fuelies).  The tend to stink quite a bit and are complaining of some symptoms of exposure.  So we coordinate with a lab in NY to send personal air monitors to evaluate exposures to VOCs and oil particulates.  All week I have been calibrating equipment and doing some watching/shadowing of the folks wearing the monitors.  Hoping to get some good data.
-LAS

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Jason’s Busy End of Season – Jan. 24-Feb. 9 (JRS)

March 11th, 2007

We’ve been told that the summer is the busiest time of the year, and that things, in general, slow down in the winter.  And, thus far, the summer has certainly been busy.  But, for the few weeks that followed R&R, I had quite a bit more going on than the rest of the summer. Read the rest of this entry »

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SPIFF - Sunday, Jan. 28 (JRS)

March 7th, 2007

We slept in until something like 1300 (good thing we have a blog since we aren’t getting up before satellite goes down at 0900 to call peopleJ).  After I went out to ARO to do my normal daily checks, I met Lynette who was standing in line in front of the post office. 

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Mardi Gras Bingo - Saturday, January 27th (JRS)

March 6th, 2007

Sara had been wanting to do a Mardi Gras party for a while, and the number of weekends remaining was dwindling fast.  The third and final installment of bingo had already been planned for tonight, but there were no other options, and Sara had already bought all of the Mardi Gras supplies, so we ended up having Mardi Gras Bingo! Read the rest of this entry »

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The First REAL Departure – Wednesday, January 24st (LAS)

March 4th, 2007

It was a weird day for us.  We just got back from R&R on Monday and already there are people leaving that have become our friends over the course of the summer.  The day started with the morning FEMC safety meeting.

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Back to Pole! – Monday, January 22nd (LAS)

March 4th, 2007

We were up at 0600 to try to enjoy our last full shower for 9 months. It was quick, but still nice. We grabbed a quick bit of breakfast from the galley and did our final bit of packing and cleaning before hoping a shuttle and checking in at the MCC at 0700.  For more, higher-res pictures, see our gallery:  R&R Days 5-8. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Constellation and the McMurdo Marathon – Sunday, January 21st (LAS & JRS)

March 4th, 2007

At 0100, we had planned on joining the night-crew trip that the rec department was doing to the constellation, a fallen plane. As I had told Jason before, I needed to stay up if I was going. Since the party was weak and i didn’t stay up, I didn’t go. Jason met Karthik at 0100 for the trip.  For more, higher-res pictures, see our gallery: R&R Days 5-8.
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Party Night In McMurdo - Saturday, January 20th (LAS)

March 4th, 2007

We were up again in time for lunch today. We both went to the computer lab and started working on the blog until 1400, when the polies had decided to meet up for some volleyball. I met a firefighter in the computer lab who decided to join us – so we were 5 polies and a McMurdo firefighter for 3on3. While we were there, 2 guys joined the game. One of the guys had an awesome first serve – turns out, it was a fluke. The second one nailed Jason in the back.  For more, higher-res pictures, see our gallery: R&R Days 5-8. Read the rest of this entry »

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More Gallaghers, Please! - Friday, January 19th (LAS)

March 1st, 2007

After the long day yesterday and the late night, we slept in again. This time, we both woke up shortly before lunch. We went into the galley and got some lunch before heading to the computer lab and working a bit on the blog. Our R&R crew decided to take our McMurdo hosts up on the offer to open Gallaghers early for the Polies. They left the karaoke machine up from last night, as well.  For more, higher-res pictures, see our gallery:  R&R Days 5-8. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Castle Rock Loop - Thursday, Jan 18 (LAS)

March 1st, 2007

I was up and out for my dental cleaning at 0900. Jason had an appointment at 1000. Since I was done before the hour was up, I woke up Jason and he went over to see the dentist early. We were supposed to meet karthik and terry for castle rock loop at 1100. I met Karthik and Emrys in the hall and noone had seen Jason. Emrys informed us that Kris (the met guy for the summer/waste guy for the winter) had started skiing the Castle Rock Loop Trail at 0800. Emrys had done the first lap with him, but that was it so far. Kris was trying to set a record for the most number of laps skied around the loop in one day (crozz-country). Unfortunately, the trail was half-melted, so there were portions that he had to doff the ski’s and hike in the cross-country boots. For higher resolution pictures, see the gallery: R&R Day 4 Read the rest of this entry »

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The Oden - Wednesday, Jan 17 (LAS)

February 28th, 2007

We continued our trend of sleeping-in. I woke up at 1000 and began working on the blog. I finally woke Jason up for lunch at noon. Enroute to the galley, we ran into Emrys who had, with Sven’s help hooked us up for a tour of the Oden this afternoon. The Oden is an icebreaker that is owned/manned by the Swedish and chartered by the NSF. Sven is one of our friends at Pole who works for ice cube – he is Swedish and knows the first mate of the boat. We all went for lunch together and then dressed for our field trip to the boat.  For high resolution pics, see the gallery: Days 2 and 3 of R&R

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Bolie Powling and Ob Hill Loop - Tuesday, Jan 16 (JRS)

February 27th, 2007

Today we had dentist appointments, showers, Bolie Powling, a hike around Observation Hill, and a presentation by Dr. William Slader, a long-established penguin researcher, called Penguin City. For high resolution pics, see the gallery: Days 2 and 3 of R&R
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Spring Break 2007 Begins – The Fabulous Beach Resort known as McMurdo – Monday, January 15th (JRS)

February 27th, 2007

Running on little to no sleep, we were scheduled to leave for MacTown for R&R on the first flight. We both had quite a bit to get finished up before leaving, so we were both rushing around all morning before heading out. For higher resolution pics, see the gallery: Pole to MacTown Read the rest of this entry »

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My replacement is here (but not when I am not) Jan 9-Jan 14 (LAS)

February 24th, 2007

On Tuesday, I finished the root cause analysis of the emergency response to the power plant that occurred on dec 26th.  Because we had some injuries, I spent a lot of time trying to backtrack to decisions/protocols/procedures that led to the injuries.  I’m pretty happy with the lessons learned to take from it and share with my replacement next November.  Amber flew in today, she is my replacement while I am on R&R next week in McMurdo (She has my same position in McMurdo, but there are 3 to 4 EH&S people there during the summer).  The funny part is that I am showing her around and giving her familiarization training, but she is leaving when I do to return to McMurdo (bed space keeps her away next week). 

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Another Sunday - January 7th (JRS)

February 24th, 2007

Today was the day of the big store sale.  We had to play volleyball a little early since they were setting up for the sale in the Gym at 4.  It was a pretty weak turn out, but we had fun, none the less.  The store set up the gym with quite a large array of clothes, hats, patches, stickers, etc. and put it on sale in order to reduce their extra stock.  We got a few shirts and hats for ourselves as well as some souvenirs for some folks we hadn’t had a chance to shop for yet.  Just like a regular sale, the prices were good, but they didn’t always have the size we wanted.

-JRS

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The Grantees are coming! Jan 8-12th (JRS)

February 24th, 2007

This morning I headed out to the flight line to welcome a couple of Grantees (what Raytheon calls scientists working on projects here).  The 2 Grantees were coming in from the University of Michigan to make a few upgrades on their instrument.  Their project comes under my domain, but the purpose of the experiment is to be autonomous, so I rarely work on it and don’t know too much about it.  So, helping out while they’re here is a good opportunity for me to become more familiar with the project.  After an in brief with Al, my boss, we felt we were prepared and more than able to do the work that they had to do.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Can you believe there was another Saturday of parties? - Saturday, Jan. 6 (LAS)

February 24th, 2007

This morning was a busy “prep” one for me.  I was getting stuff somewhat organized so that Amber and I could work on inventory when she comes next week.  She is the EH&S lead in McMurdo and will be covering for me during my R&R (our one week of vacation) in McMurdo.  I was pretty busy all the way up to dinner with meetings and trainings.  Jason went to the store and got some wine for tonight’s festivities and we eventually met up for dinner.  There was a birthday celebration, followed by the Met crew’s wine and chees party, followed by bingo, followed by impromptu volleyball.  For higher resolution pictures, see the web gallery: J-Love, Wine, and Bingo

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Hand and Foot - Tuesday, Jan 2, 2007 (LAS)

February 1st, 2007

We taught some of our new friends the card game of hand and foot.  Jason’s brother and sister-in-law, Chris and Jenn, taught us the game a few years back and we love to play it.  At one point, we had a 4-team game going.  It seems like we played all night (that REALLY reminded us of the fun times with Chris and Jenn!)

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The Pole Moved! - Monday, Jan. 1 (LAS)

January 30th, 2007

It’s a New Years tradition at the South Pole to move the location of the Pole marker to reflect the actual location of the South Pole of the Earth. Each year, the ice shift by about 10 meters, so each year, the pole marker, which moves with the ice, needs to be moved to accommodate for this shift. With the move of the Pole, a new marker is placed atop the new location. It is designed by a winter-over person from the season before and the winter crew votes on the winning entry. For high resolution pictures, see the gallery: New Years at the Pole Read the rest of this entry »

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HAPPY 2007!!! - Sunday, Dec. 31 (JRS)

January 22nd, 2007

On New Year’s Eve there was a big party in the gym. Previous years’ parties were part of South Pole Lore and generally involved a bit of craziness, like people dancing in a cage. Lynette and I aren’t usually New Year’s party people and we’ve tended to take it easy on New Year’s Eve in the last few years, but we were pretty excited about what this year had in store. For high resolution pictures, see the gallery: New Years at the Pole

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Brits, Hannah McKeand, and Indians - Friday, Dec. 29 (JRS)

January 19th, 2007

In the past few days, we’ve had three NGA (Non-Government Activity, or as we call them, tourists) groups arrive on skis.  Four men from the Royal British Navy, about a dozen people from the armed forces in India, and a soloist who was out to break the record for quickest solo trip from the coast to the Pole. 

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I remind me of my brother - Thursday, Dec. 28 (LAS)

January 19th, 2007

Today is my brother’s birthday.  I wasn’t sure how to best get ahold of him.  My plan was to try to call, but since I was getting his cell number from my mom when the alarm went off on Monday, I still don’t have it.  So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOE!! I got news today that I am even more like him than I knew I was yesterday.  We have both had the pleasure, now, of experiencing a torn meniscus.   

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Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow Deal with the crews & the Power Plant Alarm - Tuesday, Dec. 26 (LAS)

January 19th, 2007

The Winter Site Manager, Andy Martinez, and I made a deal with the RPSC work crews.  If they can go 5 weeks without a safety incident, will take on any haircut they want to give us.  The deal starts today.

We got up this morning and attempted to make phone calls to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! We got a lot of answering machines, for the most part.  We did have a nice conversation with Jason’s dad, my brother, and my mom.  While we were on the phone with my mom, the alarm in the building started sounding.  With a real quick “gotta go - love ya, bye”, I hung up the phone and darted to my office to get my yellow hat, monitoring equipment, and clipboard that allows go to an emergency site with me. Jason took off to don his bunker gear. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Race Around the World - Monday, Dec. 25 (JRS & LAS)

January 19th, 2007

We did sleep in a little. Unfortunately, we missed the annual POW ceremony with the veterans on station, but Lynette did manage to stand on 2 feet in time to head out to the Pole for The Race Around the World. It’s a Christmas tradition here at the Pole, which involves three laps on a 5-k course around the Pole. For higher resolution pictures, see the photo gallery: Christmas at the Pole Read the rest of this entry »

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Christmas dinner - Sunday Dec. 24 (JRS)

January 19th, 2007

Christmas is probably the toughest time of year to be away from your closest friends and family. The prospect of not getting to spend our Christmas with those folks and be a part of Christmas traditions was a definite downer. However, we’ve made some pretty good friends here, and, like with Thanksgiving, the galley was decked out to be made homey looking and the kitchen staff fixed a wonderful banquet, which made it just about as close to home as you can feel at the South Pole. For higher resolution pictures, see the picture gallery: Christmas at the Pole

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The Big Labowski (or not so much) - Saturday, Dec. 23rd (LAS)

January 19th, 2007

Tonight was an “appreciation BBQ” for the FEMC staff.  The FEMC manager invited me down to join the festivities in the carp jamesway.  I joined the early weekly wrap-up and safety meeting, which was followed by BBQ ribs and beer.  Several people showed up.  Sarah told me that they were going to have a Big Labowski party in the summer camp lounge tonight.  After the party dwindled a bit, They had gotten the supplies for white russians and had the movie ready.  More...As more non-FEMC people showed up to the BBQ shin-dig, I called Jason and told him to make his way out to the BBQ.  As the BBQ dwindled down, we made our way over to J11, where the Hawks had moved their party. We hung out for a bit before making our way to the lounge.  A couple of games of foosball were started and Emrys and Charlie headed out to ARO for some of the “cleanest snow on earth” for the white russians.  During the wait, someone hooked their ipod to the stereo system and we were suddenly in dance party mode.  Eventually, it became clear that it was a dance party that would never dwindle down for the Big Labowski.  As the night carried on, the party became a “show me your underwear” type festivity.  We weren’t in the mood for dropping trou, so we headed home.

-LAS

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It’s a Cookie Masterpiece! - Thursday, Dec 21 (LAS)

January 19th, 2007

Today was the first meeting of the Employee Safety Committee.  A lot of good ideas were brought up and addressed and we selected an officer and minutes-keeper.  I did most of the talking and am looking forward to seeing what this group accomplishes on their own. At 7pm we had the cookie decorating party. 

More...It started out fairly simple.  We had sugar cookie dough, rollers, flour, and cutters.  After a few rounds of cutting the Christmassy cookies, we got more entertaining as we located the Halloween cutters and random things.  I started taking personal requests for cutting cookies out with a knife.  It started easy enough.  There was a candy cane, a canoe and oar, a hammer.  Then the weird requests started flowing.  I did the empire state building, with king kong on it, followed by the leaning tower of Pizza.  There was a replica of our dome and the ceremonial south pole.  The final request was a sphinx - a real toughy.  I may have found my new form of artistic expression.

 

For my final cut, I took the ball that was left and mad a sizeable, and very impressive, GT.  GO JACKETS!

-LAS

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Airdrop - Dec. 20 (JRS)

January 18th, 2007

There had been a slight buzz around station since the beginning of the season about an airdrop that was to occur during the summer. It has been several years since the last airdrop, but for several reasons, they had been stopped. To see more, higher-resolution pictures, see the Airdrop Picture Gallery. The Air National Guard, who operates all of the flights in and out of Pole, decided that they wanted to ensure that an airdrop was safe, in the event that an emergency drop was needed. Here is a blurb from Lt. Col. Greg Pyke about the airdrop plans:
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95 Years @ Pole - Dec. 14

January 12th, 2007

An email from our NSF representative:

Today 95 years ago today, Roald Amundsen and his party arrived at 90 South, the first person/s to stand at the geographic South Pole.  Take a moment to reflect on what it must have been like to achieve that goal at this very location, alone, and without any back up support.  And now today we have the Elevated Station, SPT, IceCube drill camp, LC-130 operations, etc.

Jerry  

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Your newest Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado IS…. - Sunday, Dec. 17 (LAS)

January 12th, 2007

 I slept in quite a bit this morning. I managed to get myself up to order final items from the “it was stolen” list before too much of the morning satellite passed. I was working at my desk when Jason returned to the station and came up behind me. He patted my head and said “That Liar.” He was referencing the fact that I did not, in fact have a mohawk. I asked if he was disappointed. As I expected, he assured me that he was not. We went to brunch with several of the hawks and Jason got caught up to speed on what he had missed the night before. After brunch, we each went to our offices to do some follow-up work. While I was sitting there, I remembeered that I hadn’t checked my hotmail account in a while (stauchy@stauchy.net gets checked WAY more often). I had an e-mail from someone with an “@dora.state.co.us”. The subject was “Colorado PE License”. I knew it was the final decision on my licensure as a PR in CO in Civil Engineering….SCORE! You can view my license number at the following link: https://www.doradls.state.co.us/alison.php

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It’s Mohawk Time! — Saturday, Dec. 16 (LAS)

January 12th, 2007

Tonight was pizza night in the galley.  Jason and I went to dinner and chatted with some friends as we awaited approach time for his departure for South Pole ROCS (Recreational Outdoor Camping School).  As we were eating dessert, I got a call from “J11″ on my radio asking about dinner options.  “J11″ is one of the summer camp jamesways that houses some of our friends on the FEMC crew.  They are a really fun crew and we always have a great time.  There is a mini lounge area in the middle, and a bunch of the day shift crew “debriefs” there after work with some drinks.  I had nothing better to do, so I asked Francie (our production cook that is wintering with us) to whip out a few pizzas for me to wrap and carry out to summer camp.  Read the rest of this entry »

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SP ROCS - Sat, Dec. 16 (JRS)

January 12th, 2007

Lynette went to happy camper school the day after we got to McMurdo I’m a Happy Camper!, and now it was my turn. South Pole Recreation set up three weekends of camping trips, similar to the Happy Camper, and called it SP ROCS (South Pole Recreation Outdoor Camping Session).  For more, higher-resolution pictures, see: SP ROCS Picture Gallery Read the rest of this entry »

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Lynette’s Twin Otter flight to Scott Glacier & Charlie’s birthday-Dec 12 (LAS)

January 11th, 2007

Today started like any other work day. Sometime mid-morning, Tracy, the comms coordinator called and asked if I was interested and had the time to join one of the Ken Borek missions to support the establishment of a field camp at Scott Glacier.  Assuming that weather was in MY favor, Keri Nester (the winter-over materials person) and I would assist with loading a twin otter with supplies, fly out approximately 1 hour to the glacier and assist with the unloading of equipment before flying back.  I prepared my bag of ECWs, water, and snacks before heading to lunch.  The call came in during lunch that we were “go” for the mission.  For the picture gallery, see: Scott Glacier Picture Gallery

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Toga, Toga, Toga - Sat, Dec. 9 (JRS)

January 7th, 2007

Neither of us had ever been to a Toga Party before coming to the Pole.  Charlie, the food material’s person, and Sara, the welder, had been planning on having a Toga Party since not long after we arrived. Read the rest of this entry »

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The New Rodwell - Thurs, Dec. 7 (LAS)

January 2nd, 2007

At approximately 2000, I met with Martin Lewis, the Operations Manager, Josiah, one of the night shift heavy equipment operators (and co-driller), another experienced driller, and John, an NSF rep here to help with the Design team who also used his knowledge to help with the procedures for the drill.  We reviewed the JHA and additional safety issues before heading out to the location of the new rodwell.  Our existing rodwell is coming close to being spent and this summer we need to complete a new rodwell and allow it to operate/warm water for a year before switching from the old rodwell to the new.

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Ice Cube and the SIMCO Drill Rig- Tues, Dec. 5 (LAS)

January 2nd, 2007

About a month ago, ICE CUBE drillers had an accident which injured one of the drillers.  Long story short, the person got their hand caught between the centering clams and the auger.  He’s ok, thankfully, but it caused us to take a close look at the drilling procedures.  A brief description of the day and of ICE CUBE.

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There’s a Fire Alarm at Ice Cube Drill Camp (Drill) - Dec. 2 (JRS)

January 2nd, 2007

Just about everyone on station knew that a drill was coming.  There had been talk about it all week.  Everyone thought that it was going to happen at Ice Cube, and each day, the rumor was that it was going to happen the next day.  The anticipation was driving me nuts, and my stomach hurt all the time with nerves.  Today at about 9am, the alarm finally sounded. Read the rest of this entry »

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She’s broken…again, Sunday, Dec. 3rd (LAS)

December 29th, 2006

I thought today would be the day that I would return to the volleyball court.  Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get 100% healthy around here…

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Bingo! - Dec. 2 (JRS)

December 28th, 2006

James Brown Bingo has been a tradition at the South Pole for 5 years.  James is our executive chef at the Pole, and looks nothing like what you’re thinking (well, at least what you were thinking before you saw the picture).  After much anticipation, Bingo Time was upon us.

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Thanksgiving Celebration! – Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 25th & 26th (LAS)

December 25th, 2006

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! This is how we celebrated Thanksgiving at the South Pole!  Fore more, higher-res pictures, see our gallery: Thanksgiving.

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ARO Movie night – Friday, Nov. 24th (LAS)

December 25th, 2006

Friday, November 24th was a work day for us here on the ice, but Thanksgiving back in the states.  We managed to snag a phone during lunch hour to make some very short calls home to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  The rest of the workday was “as usual”.  The end of the day, however, was especially nice.  Friday night was great given the knowledge that Saturday was a day off for us (We normally work 6 days a week/9 hour days minimum).  We went to ARO’s first Movie night of the 2006-2007 season to watch the Princess Bride.  

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THE Hatch (SPRESSO) - Nov. 22 (JRS)

December 21st, 2006

This morning we got up a bit earlier than usual and met up with Glenn Grant, the Aurora Tech, for a trip out to the SPRESSO vault, a buried vault about 5 miles off-station that contains electronics that support 4 seismometers.  Fore more, higher-res pictures, see our gallery: The SPRESSO Vault.
UsAtSPRESSO

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THE 2006 TURKEY DANCE!!! Thurs, Nov 23, 2006 (LAS)

December 20th, 2006

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is the annual turkey dance.  The first time that I cooked a turkey, I just couldn’t help myself.  I defrosted the turkey, cleaned it out, and started a new tradition of the turkey dance.  This was back in Colorado in the townhouse.  Each year, I did a little dance for each turkey.  In 2004, Jason videotaped it for the first time.  Since then, I unveil a new turkey dance each year on Thanksgiving Day and it becomes the Turkey Dance for the entire year (the song/dance I sing each time I cook a turkey).  I couldn’t break tradition just because I was at the South Pole (and a Galley Staff was doing all the cooking). (http://www.stauchy.net/videos.html) Read the rest of this entry »

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Email Home Nov. 19 (JRS)

December 13th, 2006

While the blog was down, here’s an email I sent to my family on Nov. 19.

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Highlights of a time period almost forgotten - Nov.9th-21st (LAS)

December 12th, 2006

When we first arrived at the Pole, we were pretty good at jotting down notes to help with the blogs once resolution was found. The excitement of doing that without actually communicating and posting wore off. As a result, we’ll be meshing a lot of days together and trying to highlight some of the “happenings”. We have the computer, now, so expect great things in the near future (of course our satellite hours are moving more and more into the middle of the night). At any rate, here’s a stab at the highlights from Nov. 9-Nov.21 (based on what we each had in our calendars).  For miscellaneous pictures from  November and December, see our web gallery: South Pole November and December. Read the rest of this entry »

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PT and crutches - Nov. 8 (LAS)

December 11th, 2006

Today was the first day of physical therapy for the calf.  As it turns out, the physical therapist thinks I have a partial tear of the outer calf muscle (gastoc?).  This means physical therapy in medical and a fantastic set of crutches to begin “shadow-walking”.  Essentially placing no weight on the leg, just slowly trying to stretch it out (avoiding the perma-ballerina).

Read the rest of this entry »

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Hobbling to alarms - Nov. 7 (LAS)

December 10th, 2006

The morning was beginning to meet a bit of normalities.  Jason and I had a hard time waking up and getting to work, but are sleeping fairly well.  Mornings seem to be especially hard because of the dry air.  We are constantly waking with the stuffy nose and dry throat.  By the time we get a little breakfast and get the day rolling, things are pretty good.  Jason is threatening to not sleep anymore jsut so that he doesn’t have to experience the mornings.  Read the rest of this entry »

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She’s broken (but only slightly) - Nov. 6 (LAS)

December 7th, 2006

The morning and afternoon were pretty much standard work days for us.  We did get some interesting words from Safety Bill and the first injury of the new season occurred - yes, it was Safety Net.  oh! The irony! Read the rest of this entry »

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Electronics Seminar - Nov. 5 (JRS)

December 7th, 2006

Today, Bob taught a seminar on practical electronics in Antarctica to about a dozen people (Lynette & I both attended).  In the morning, he spent a couple of hours going over a PowerPoint presentation covering several aspects of electronics that are particular to the South Pole, being a very cold and dry place.  After the morning session, we went to eat brunch, which is a wonderful time of the week.  The food is fabulous, with omelets made-to-order, fresh baked croissants, a huge cheese platter and plenty more. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wondering the Clean-Air Sector - Nov. 4 (JRS)

December 7th, 2006

We both finally felt like we got a good night’s sleep last night, but it didn’t make the mornings any better for me.  Bob and I had decided to head out to visit all of the instruments that I will be working on for the year.  Most of my instruments are located in an area called “The Clean-Air Sector”, which is grid North-West of the station near the ARO (Atmospheric Research Observatory) building.  A cable is run from each of the instruments in through the roof of the lab inside the main station.  I can do all of my daily tasks from inside, however, if anything goes wrong with one of the instruments in the field, it will be my job to go out, find the problem, and fix it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Motivation to Stay - Nov. 3 (JRS)

December 6th, 2006

Lynette started the day with a tour of some of the construction activities.  Everyone hit the ground running with the delayed arrival.  I did training in the lab during the morning, came up with a daily task list, and went through all of the experiment wiring diagrams (very productive morning).  The evening brought a fantastic aurora show that reminded us of the excitement of wintering (after watching some of the “survivors” “escape” the day before).

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Fire in A1! - Nov. 2, 2006 (LAS)

December 6th, 2006

Sleeping was a little better last night.  Not great — just better.  The altitude definitely brings on a bit of sleep apnia, but hopefully that will get better. I went to another 6:30 meeting with the newest arrivals from the FEMC crew.  Jason and I met for a quick breakfast before attending Safety Bill’s last South Pole presentation, ever (or so he says). He briefed the two resident fire-fighters, Jason, another Team-2 member, and me on hazardous materials around the station and an overview of firesupression systems around the station. Read the rest of this entry »

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Taking the Reins - Nov. 1, 2006 (LAS)

December 6th, 2006

Sleepless night. As much as one might think that sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor in a tight shirt with wires hooked up to your head and chest is comfortable….let me assure you that it is not.  I was up for my first safety briefing inthe new gym at 0630 with the newest FEMC crew. It went well, especially since Bill was nice enough to get up early and handle the first one. 

Read the rest of this entry »

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At the Bottom of the World! - Oct. 31, 2006 (JRS)

November 29th, 2006

We’ve finally arrived to our new home for the next year: Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station!? After two weeks in Purgatory, we’re VERY excited to be here.  For more, higher-res pictures, see our web gallery: To The Pole! Read the rest of this entry »

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We’re Baaaack

November 28th, 2006

After a much lengthier-than-expected struggle, the web page is back up and running at its new host. I’ve thought that I had things up and running a few times now, so I’m still not entirely convinced that everything is running properly. So, please continue to bear with us if things don’t quite work in the next few days (or weeks, as the case has been). Anyway, we’re back and running, and have a lot of back-blogging to do, so please stay tuned! Thanks for your patience!

-JRS

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Where’d We Go??

November 15th, 2006

That’s a good question! We did, indeed, make it to the South Pole, but unfortunately, we’re having technical difficulties with the website. I’m hoping to sort things out in the next few days, but it’s difficult with a limited satellite window. Sorry to keep everyone waiting, I know that you’re all just dying to hear about the gruelling details of our life down here. :-) Everything is going well here, and we have lots of stories, so stay tuned, hopefully we’ll have things sorted out after this weekend.

-JRS

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YOUR mom - Oct 28, 2006 (LAS)

November 1st, 2006

So, planes were cancelled at 0700.� This meant we were definitely going to be in town for McMurdo’s annual Halloween party tonight….and that meant we needed costumes….and needed them quick.� Little did we know that Lynette’s costume would blossom into a top 5 contender for a prize as the funniest. For more, higher-res pictures, see our web gallery: Halloween in MacTown. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stuck in Purgatory - Oct 24-27 (LAS)

November 1st, 2006

So, each of these days rolled by just like the one before. We got up every morning at 0600 with dreams of being on the first flight to the Pole at 0700. Weather continually was bad at the Pole and we continued to live in what we affectionately called Purgatory.  For more, higher-res pictures, see our web gallery: Miscellaneous MacTown. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can’t get Outa Here-Oct 23

October 29th, 2006

We were up at 0600 to learn that flights were delayed again. This, of course, was later cancelled. After breakfast, we checked our e-mails and caught up on missed items before heading to Confined Spaces training. After the training, Jason met with Steve (his counterpart here at MCM) for another trip to Arrival Heights for some work up there.  For more, higher-res pictures, see our web gallery: Miscellaneous MacTown. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buzz and the Penguin March-Both go down cold - Oct 22, 2006

October 29th, 2006

Sunday was asad,sadday for the Stauch’s. There are rarely, if ever, flights on Sunday (only emergencies, essentially, as deemed by the NSF). This meant our day was pretty much occupied by the GT football game…or I guess we should say…the Clemson game. We attended a science lecture on B-15, a ice glacier threatening the March of the Penguins. Read the rest of this entry »

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We’re still here, but so is Banff - Oct 21, 2006

October 29th, 2006

We woke up to the excitement ofthe first delayed flight to the Pole for the new season. Unfortunately, this was our flight. We were somewhat bummed about still being in Mactown, but also excited that we would be here for the 1st Antarctica showing ofthis year’sBanff Film Festival. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bag Drag & Scott’s Hut - Oct. 20, 2006

October 29th, 2006

So, we got our manifest information today. Jason and I are scheduled to be on the First flight to the Pole this season. We’ll be part of the crew to get the station opened! Tonight is also our opportunity to see Scott’s Hut!  For more, higher-res pictures, see our web gallery: Scott’s Hut and Cross. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fire school & “American Night” - Oct 19, 2006

October 29th, 2006

On the schedule today is continued training for the fire brigade.? There is a lot of excitement in the air for tonight with Scott Base (the Kiwi Base) opens it’s arms (and it’s store and bar) for American night. Read the rest of this entry »

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Beautiful Day! - Oct 17-18, 2006 (JRS)

October 27th, 2006

It’s a beautiful day here at McMurdo. The skies are clearing up and the mountians across the sea ice are fully in view. What a spectacular vista it is! The view from the Crary building (the largest science lab on the continent) is incredible.  Across The McMurdo Sound to the Southwest, the Royal Society Range stretches out, marking the start of continental Antarctica.  (For pictures, go to: Jason’s First Two Days in MacTown Gallery) Read the rest of this entry »

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I’m a Happy Camper! - Oct 17 & 18, 2006 (LAS)

October 26th, 2006

Happy Camper was described to me as “Just like car camping”. I’m not sure that the person who told me that had ever done it before….I do know that he apologized when he gave me the informational sheet and told me last night that I was leaving at 0900 for my overnight experience.  (For pictures, see: Lynette’s Happy Camper)

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On the Ice! - Oct 16, 2006

October 25th, 2006

Holy crap!  I can’t believe we’re actually here…Well, we can now tell you first hand that it is indeed cold in Antarctica! We arrived in McMurdo sometime around 5pm New Zealand Time, which is more-or-less local time, and we weren’t attacked by an emperor penguin today. (For pictures, see: Christchurch to McMurdo Gallery)
Read the rest of this entry »

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Tutorial

October 24th, 2006
  1. Register
    It’s fairly painless, and will help keep the page spam-free.  NOTE: You do not need to register and/or log in in order to veiw the blog, it’s only needed in order to make comments, which we encourage!
    1. Click on Register, under Administrative on the right-hand column.
    2. Make up a username and give your email
    3. An email will be sent to you with your password
    4. Continue with the next step (Log In)
  2. Log In
    NOTE: You do not need to log in in order to veiw the blog, it’s only needed in order to make comments, which we encourage!
    1. Either click the link on the page you finished registering on, or click Login under Administrative on the right-hand column of the main blog page.  Note that you can keep yourself logged in by checking the box, if you’d like.
    2. Update your profile, if desired
    3. Click on the View Site link (small white letters) next to “Stauchy Blog” (Big blue letters at very top).  This will take you back to the
  3. View Blog
    1. The main page contains the last 10 posts in reverse chronological order (i.e. read from the bottom post, up).
    2. You can click on any title heading (or “Read More >> >>” link) to expand any blog entry, see all of the comments, and post your own comment (please do!).  Once on that page, use the links at the top of the post to navigate from one post to the next, or click on the big white lettering at the top (Stauchy Blog) to return to the main page.
    3. If you want to see older posts, click on the links under Archive on the right-hand column of the main blog page.  Again, these will be shown in reverse chronological order, and works the same way as the main blog page.
  4. Rules
    1. No spamming!  Comments that have random, commercial links that are not related to the blog entry will be deleted and I may suspend your account if I suspect you’re a spammer.  On the other hand, please DO post links to personal sites, or any other cool sites that you think the Stauchy community would enjoy!? This rule is only meant for people who are NOT friends, family, or other sincerely interested parties (so, if you’re reading this, the rule probably doesn’t apply to you)
    2. It’s probaby not a good idea to post you email address because there is a decent chance that a spider will gobble it up and put it on a spam list (note that you will be required to give your email address on a form in order to make a comment, but that address will not be posted, so
      you’ll be ok there).
    3. Please use common sense about what will be offensive or generally reprehensible.  I do reserve the right to remove any post at my discresion, and even ban your user ID if it becomes a problem.
    4. Have fun!

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About

October 24th, 2006

The Stauchy Blog is a comprehensive journal about the life of Jason and Lynette Stauch as we undergo the adventure of a lifetime in Antarctica at the South Pole. Enjoy!

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Does it fit?- Oct 15, 2006

October 23rd, 2006

We rolled out of bed fairly late and meandered over to the coffee shop by our hotel. The Bear something or the something bear? We met Charlie, a fellow Polie who was enjoying a patio spot at the cafe for breakfast. We talked about the upcoming season and various travelling we had each done. The breakfasts were huge - Charlie had ordered the “Kiwi fix”, which was a strange pile of eggs, toast, baked beans, among other things.

Shortly after grubbing, we returned upstairs and sorted what was to remain in CHC and what was going with us. We ventured out to our noon shuttle to the CDC (clothing distribution center) to get our ECWs (extreme cold weather gear). Read the rest of this entry »

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Living in Tomorrowland? - um…Oct 13 and/or 14

October 23rd, 2006

Flying the red-eye to New Zealand begs one question when arriving in CHC (pronounced “Cheech” in Antarctica speak for Christchurch): “What Day is it?”  (For pictures, see: Christchurch Picture Gallery)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Signing Out - Oct 12, 2006

October 21st, 2006

We were up at 0600, getting dressed and loading the Saturn. Hugged the family goodbye and made our way out to the vehicle. JoAnn drove us to Raytheon Polar Services HQ on her way into a workday filled with meetings. We were leaving the country today, so anythingthatstill needed to be taken care of, needed to be done today (in addition to training and taking a bus ride and a flight on our way out of the country). Read the rest of this entry »

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Another superhero - Oct 11, 2006

October 21st, 2006

So, rumor told us to be at the Raytheon office early. So, we headed over to Raytheon and arrived at opening at 0700. We got our badges, login information, and travel funds while in Denver. Jason went to set-up our online payadvice for direct deposit and expense reimbursements while I went on a mission to figure out how to change our permanent address in Raytheon’s system and recover money for the expenses that we had from our summer travels for training (all our receipts were in the laptop bag that was stolen on Friday). That’s when we really got to knowanother superhero that helped us along the way to get to Antarctica. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shopping Spree and Identity Crisis! - Oct. 10, 2006

October 21st, 2006

We got up early (going to be late and getting up early was becoming a habit, and a highly annoying one at that) and drove up to Denver where Lynette had supervisor training. I dropped her off and tried, unsuccessfully, to check into the room early since we had the back of my dad’s Saturn View was packed full of our stuff. We didn’t love the idea of driving around with an SUV full of everything we were taking on our trip, especially given that we were still reeling from the burglary. But, I dind’t have a choice, so after planning out my day in the hotel’s computer lab, I headed out on a massive shopping spree. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Recovery Begins - Oct. 9, 2006

October 21st, 2006

After far too little sleep, we dragged ourselves out of bed at 7am. We actually had some good news during the drive the day before, Lynette’s training actually didn’t start until Tuesday, and mine not until Wednesday. This means that we had the whole day free to try to recover from the burglary. During the drive we had compiled a list that consisted of two major categories: 1) Deal with the insurance claim and police report, and2) Replace all the high priority stuff that was stolen. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Long Haul - Oct. 8, 2006

October 21st, 2006

After getting to bed late (around 2am), and since we had a long drive ahead of us, we decided to sleep in until about 7am. We got up and started the next puzzle of packing our remaining stuff into the Jeep. We finished up around 10 and after our last stop at Starbucks for at least a year, we headed for Colorado. Read the rest of this entry »

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Saturday’s Push - October 7, 2006

October 20th, 2006

We were up at 0700 and began the mass effort to get out of the house. Friday’s events left us feeling beat-down and almost the end of our ropes. We had thought that dealing with the loss of Jasper was going to be our only major emotional thing to deal with until this. How could people be so crappy? It’s a frustrating thing to realize that pictures and videos so dear to us were lost forever because some dirty thieves needed a few extra bucks and were too lazy to get a job to fund their needs. Jason had even backed up a lot of it on a brand new external, portable harddrive because of our fear of a harddrive failure and data loss. They stole that too. That phrase was spoken a lot in the few days of the aftermath… Read the rest of this entry »

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Stinkin’ Burglers - Oct 6, 2006

October 19th, 2006

So, Friday, October 6th seemed like a normal enough day for 2 people moving out of the house they have loved over the past 3.5 years in sunny southern california. We were still on a decent schedule. We knew we couldn’t make the Race for the Cure in Denver, but things were still looking good for a smooth, slow-paced drive to Denver and minor preparations for leaving for Antarctica. Most shopping had been done and a complete list identified what we had packed for the pole and what was ready for “post pole”. Lynette had moved all her e-mails and contacts from her “Parsons” computer over to the personal computer and we had “played out” the going away parties to their fullest. Shortly after noon, we loaded up the Jeep to take one of the final loads of stuff over to the storage unit and get some lunch. We were gone for almost 2 hours and returned to meet a locksmith to make changes to the door handle we had broken just a few days earlier. We ate lunch, chatted on the phone with some buddies, and Lynette went on a quest to find the laptop to do a little work on it while Jason searched for the DVD case to add another disc to it when it dawned on us that we had, in fact, been burglarized. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hello world!

October 19th, 2006

So, we finally made it to McMurdo after a very eventful summer. We couldn’t have done it without the TONS of help that we received from our wonderful family and friends! A huge thank you, especially, to Janelle (she saved our rear-ends on many occassions in late summer — and is still helping us a lot despite the distance), our parents, our siblings, the CA, CO and GA crews who gave us incredible send-offs, and the “skua crew” in CA who helped vacate the house (both while we were there and after we left). Love to you all! Thanks for everything! Lynette & Jason

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