Sunday, February 24, 2008

The state of the Dome

The Elevated Station isn’t the only thing around here that underwent some radical changes over the summer.

The beloved Dome, which served as the South Pole station from 1975 until 2005 when building demolition started, is slowly getting reduced to just a metal shell on the snow. The big wooden sign that said “The United States of America Welcomes You to Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station” was removed from the entrance and then the tunnel itself that was the entrance to the Dome was also taken away.

What is left now in front is a metal arch that connects the fuel tank storage arch to the old garage arch and it completely blocks off the front of the Dome. To enter the Dome, you have to come from inside the arch, go out a hole in the back of the arch.

The old Dome now just sits there, not connected to anything else. Todd is one of the carpenters working on constructing big wooden doors to seal off the Dome and arch from drifting snow during the winter.

Inside the Dome, it looks pretty much the same as last year, just a big warehouse for mostly food, like a frozen Costco. On Fridays, a few of us do the “food pull” to bring up the food that will be eaten the following week. You have a list of items and using a sled for a shopping cart, you go around to the different aisles pulling cases of broccoli florets or chicken breasts.

This last time I had the bakery section and had goodies like chocolate graham cracker pie crusts and pre-made croissants on my list.

You’ll find some casualties scattered around like a bag of polenta that broke open. I’m not sure why the hard hat is there.

All of the cases on the shopping list will get loaded into triwall boxes like the one Nate is standing in. Then on Mondays, the pallets of boxes get forklifted over to the Elevated Station, lifted up to the second level on a hoist, unloaded and stocked in the kitchen, outside on a deck or in an empty berthing wing. Unfortunately when they designed this new station, they forgot to add storage space so we stash stuff wherever we can find empty room and during the winter, food is literally stored in empty bedrooms.

The arch that used to house the old garage, carp shop and gym is now the site for a new building for the Logistics department and storage room for "DNF" (Do Not Freeze) cargo. Inside construction will take place over the winter. The thing I'm not sure about is why there is a window at the top.
The arch will be fairly dark and the view from the window will be pretty much this, plus a bunch of pallets of food eventually. The old Galley under the Dome used to have some plastic flowers and a little section of picket fence...maybe they can spruce up the pallets with something scenic to gaze out at.


At 7:36 AM, Blogger Flik said...

wow! im incredibly jealous you are down there, and off all the places you're close/(or living in?) the amundsen-scott south pole station!

Im an ameteur astronomer interested in the telescope down there, and how its getting along, and came across your site while looking for info

so yea, im jealous, of where you are (and your lifestyle haha)

Ill keep looking,

At 7:34 PM, Blogger avnmedic said...

Hi Heidi,

What a great adventure! I read the artice on you in Advance for PA's and so found your blog. I'm a new PA getting ready to take the PANCE, but I've always wanted to spend some time in Antarctica. I spent a little time on a medical mission in Alaska once & I loved it. Maybe I'll get a chance to go down there someday since I'm going into rural medicine too.

Great pix. I'll be checkng back periodically. Stay safe.

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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