Saturday, June 21, 2008


We've reached the halfway point of winter.

Mid-Winter's Day is the biggest holiday for all Antarctic stations with crews wintering over on this continent. The winter solstice marks the farthest that the sun is going get away from us and from now on, it's all downhill from here. We sent out our official greeting card plus an invitation to join us for dinner, as if anyone could drop by, but it's a tradition for many of the stations to extend jocular invitations to fellow Antarcticans or a toast in their absence.

Calee was the photographer for our group photo and although it looks like we have daylight, honestly it's pitchblack dark out. She used a 15 second exposure which caught enough moonlight so that you can see us in the dark. I'm the shortest one standing in a red parka.

Our menu reflected the talents of our fabulous chefs and Deb, Chris and Sous Chef Michael planned out an internationally themed feast featuring ingredients and recipes from around the world.

The main entree was a trio of duck, salmon and tenderloin, all paired with unique sauces and starches like homemade spaetzle. The half eaten roll in the corner is homemade kumara bread, a recipe from a Kiwi show that we're watching, Hunger for the Wild, and we used the last of our fresh kumara (like sweet potatoes) from New Zealand in the bread.

I couldn't finish everything in the entree but I ate my entire dessert, a mint creme filled chocolate cake covered with rich ganache. It was Michael's personal creation and if he ever opens up his own restaurant, I'm sure this will be a signature dessert.

This will be our last Mid-Winter celebration. After this season it will be time to move on to something different and for now, Michael and I are going to enjoy the rest of our time here at South Pole, look forward to the return of the sun in a few months and think about what will come next in life...


At 6:19 AM, Blogger Blur said...

Not coming back to the Pole? That's a joke right? Who will be the PoleMart store manager?

Glad to see Michael is taking time out of his busy schedule and feeding everyone down there every now and again.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Neal said...

Never say never....

I can almost taste Michael's cooking, thanks for the picture.

At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are a beautiful sunbeam bouncing off the walls all over that big new station...

You are so necessary...


At 10:39 AM, Blogger Bob Finlay said...

Heidi Ho!

Hey it's nice to see your BLOG. Found it on Advance for PA's! is mine if you have a chance. Drop a note.

It is embarrassing how much health care costs, but the fact that the VP of Finance for HMA makes "Basic" salary of $522K plus incidentals totaling over $1 MILLION a year might have something to do with it?

Are you coming back to Akutan?


At 9:33 AM, Blogger Diezba said...

I've enjoyed reading your insight into the Pole and the life of the people who winter over. I'm curious about something: with all the folks there over the winter, are there any religious services held at all? What sort? Is there an NSF chaplain, or do people just do their own personal devotions?

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Heidi said...

Thanks everyone for your comments!

Diezba - we usually do have someone in the crew each year who takes on organizing and holding weekly religious services, typically a non-demoninational Christian Sunday morning service. This year, our electrical foreman is holding services and last year, our power plant mechanic performed the task. We do have a tabernacle here that holds consecrated hosts for any Catholics wishing to take communion. During the summer, the McMurdo priests and chaplains make several visits to South Pole and also act as advisors during the winter via email.


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