And the winter begins
The day has arrived…
Summer folks leaving on the last flight of the season. Note the wicked contrails due to the colder temps.
The last LC-130s came today and took away the remaining summer workers and scientists before the temps dropped lower than the -47C weather that we're now experiencing. The station seems quiet and relatively empty now, compared to the crazy bustle of just a week ago. I can walk down the main hall of the station, which is the length of a football field, and not see another person the entire way.
There are now 54 of us staying behind for the 8 month long winter. A dozen or so scientists will have a busy season of operating telescopes, collecting data, troubleshooting problems. The rest of us are keeping the station running, keeping the people well-fed, treating the sick, counting the inventory, making sure the generators keep running.
My jobs this winter besides being the PA will include running the store, managing the station finances, doing the flight comms and helping out with some recreation events. I like staying busy and love the variety of jobs that I have here. No where else would I have a work day consisting of treating patients, talking to a plane in the air, restocking beer on the store shelves, handing out wads of cash and planning an event for the evening.
Speaking of which, we’ve had a long standing tradition of watching the movie, “The Thing” on station closing day. The original campy 1950’s version features James Arness in a vegetable monster suit stumbling around terrorizing well-dressed, clean shaven crew members at a station in Alaska. The remake by John Carpenter is a gritty, teeth clenching horror movie taking place in Antarctica featuring hairy, dirty, bourbon swigging, ill-tempered bickering workers with guns and flame throwers. We're more like the latter bunch, minus the guns and flame throwers. The best line uttered by Kurt Russell when all hell starts to break loose is, “First goddamn week of winter!”
"The Thing" captivates about half of the crew in the galley.
So hopefully there are no aliens lurking among us now that the doors are figuratively closed, although we're already taking bets on who's going to be the first one to crack. No front runners this year and if I start wigging out, it should only make for a more entertaining blog.