MacTown (McMurdo Station, Antarctica)

I wake up every morning at 4 AM, grab a bowl of granola cereal with fake milk and a cup of nasty coffee, then sit at my favorite dining table all alone in the dining hall awaiting for my 4 person cooking staff to gather to discuss the days gameplan. While looking out the window today I noticed numerous black patches on the ground, and more rock surface showing on the mountain... the ice is beginning to melt. People say it melts really quick too, like within a month or so. Our temps have been hanging around 5 deg C, and will continue to rise. This is what I saw this morning. This is also the darkest I've seen the sky since my arrival 10 days ago.

After work I decided to get outside and grab some photos of MacTown before it turns into a mud pit. Here's our helipad. The Pegasus runway is the only operational runway we have right now on the Ice, last year they had two, but shut one down due to the costs in making and maintaining the runway. In two weeks I begin the Runway shift, and will be delivering/grilling food for the runway personal... the coolest job for the kitchen staff :) Boss tells me when food runs out I may have to run to the freezer, grab some ground chuck and cook burgers outside on the grill in mittens, wearing the giant parka and goggles. As for the helicopters, I've never heard or seen one take off, I think they are primarily for Search and Rescue, which the Galley (Kitchen) folks cannot take part in.
Emergency vehicles on tracks.

Fire truck on tracks.

Science transport on tracks.

Ambulance on big tires. Note the sign on the door to the left. Mass casuality response is posted everywhere and that's one of the first things we are taught upon arrival. As a cook I am on call always, in times of emergency we will need food.

Like in Canada, yet moreso, all our waste is categorized into many bins. Flammables, bio-waste, oily rags, mixed paper, plastics 1, plastics 2, food waste, glass, non-recyclable, and aluminum bins are all I have seen so far. These bins are in every builing and outside every building. Today, when I got done cooking 6 full roasting pans of beef knuckles to be used for the fajita tomorrow... I had to put the aluminum, seran-wrap, plastic gloves, and leftover fat into separate bins. All useful recyclables are sent to the Skua shop, basically a free Goodwill store.

Just one of the many storage fields. I'm wondering what's in the NASA box.

The chapel. Yoga and mass are held in it almost every day.
The dormitories below... are for LUCKY people! If you're married or a researcher, or have been to Antarctica several times, you get a nice one or two bedroom suite. As for young newtimers like myself... we get a 4-person small butt room on a floor with drunkards and folks that have completely opposite shifts. Each time you return to the Ice you get more housing 'comp points'. I currently have 2 points, and I need 3 to get an upgrade. So for now I make due in my little makeshift cave hidden away in the corner of the stinky room, literally it stinks... four guys... two janitors, a dining attendant, and a cook. It's an experience all in it's self and like first year at university, just enjoy it while it lasts.

To the right is my dorm (Building #155), which is also the dining hall, kitchen, barber shop, housing office, Rec office, candy/souvenier/clothing store, gear store, laundry, computer department, and smokers lounge.

To the right in this picture is the Crary Science Centre.

Barn on the hill.
National Science Foundation main office in Antarctica. They have a great view.

This is what they see when it's clear.

This is what I see when I walk 2 minutres from my dorm... miles of Ice.

Brother Sun always hangs high in the sky and I'm thankful for it. When 'finished' in March my 'summer' will have lasted almost 12 months... and who knows I may follow the sun as it moves back towards the North Pole, and then back again. I have what they call... Bipolar disorder.

There are a few grave monuments scattered throughout the area from past explorers and workers who have helped make MacTown what it is. I share with them my passion for now I see what they see, and can understand the dangers they went through just to experience this extreme wilderness.
A snapshot of the ground. When I arrived it was all white. The black is volcanic rock.