Date: 11/21/03
Latitude: 90 degrees South
Longitude: 0 degrees East
Temperature: −41°C (−41°F)
Wind speed: 5−10 knots
Wind Chill: Not Given
Wind direction: Grid 074
Elevation: Not Given
Kilometers traveled: 0

Notes on daily life:
By Tom reports from Amundsen Scott South Pole Station:

For the past few days, Dan and I have been keeping a low profile here at the South Pole Station. We arrived just in time for lunch on Wednesday, 19 Nov. Because of the large elevation difference between McMurdo and the South Pole, it is important to take it easy for the first few days after arriving at Pole. McMurdo station is essentially at sea level, while South Pole station is at about 9,300 feet above sea level. The rapid change in elevation leaves you out of breath, and prone to dehydration and headaches. Some of these symptoms can be alleviated by drinking plenty of fluids and resting whenever possible. After a few days, your body gets used to the higher elevation and you can function more or les normally.

However, it is hard to stay cooped up in your bunk after arriving at a new place. So Dan and I spent some time the first two days wandering around the station, and trying to avoid too many flights of stairs. We got an impromptu tour of the old station from Victor Scott, one of the folks who works in the communications building. We also visited the geographic pole marker and the ceremonial pole marker.

The South Pole station has two main components: the old station, which is underneath the familiar geodesic dome, and the new station, which is up on stilts above the snow surface. In addition there are several outbuildings downwind of the station for working and sleeping. The new station houses the galley and two levels of rooms for sleeping. Dan and I were lucky enough to be assigned one of the new rooms. We have a nice view of the old dome out of our windows. The old station houses the communications building, medical facilities, store and post office, among other things. It is a short walk between the old and new station via a connecting tunnel. The new station is still under construction, and won't be completed for a few more years.

Our traverse vehicles are parked in the cargo yard, near some of the outbuildings. Dan and I visited the kitchen and blue room modules yesterday, which have recently been thoroughly cleaned by Andrea and John. I was surprised to se how much space there was in the blue room, but bear in mind that both of the rooms are still pretty empty. They seem much smaller when full of people and gear. James and Lynn have been working hard on getting our tractors up and running after being parked for the winter, and Matthew has been busy repairing our sleds for the upcoming traverse. After the sleds have been reassembled, we will begin packing our food, tools, fuel and science equipment for the traverse. Our current ETD looks like on or about 27 Nov. It will certainly be a busy couple of days, but all of us are eager to be underway.

click on a photo to view a full size version
New South Pole Station   New and Old South Pole Station Buildings   Entrance to the old station   The back side of the dome   Tom and Dan at the entrance to the dome.
Andrea by the Blue Room   Interior of the Blue Room   More interior of the Blue Room   Dan on the steps to the Blue Room   James and one of the Cats
John by the Blue Room   interior of the Kitchen   Interior of the Kitchen   Matt and the pile of sledges   A Cat lifts one of the sledges