Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I'm on night shift, so I've got to quickly switch my sleep schedule over. This first day I was here, I managed to stay up until midnight before I crashed, and last night I made it to 4AM.

Yesterday I walked out to the IceCube Lab (maybe a mile from the main station) to deal with a software emergency, then popped next door (about 200 ft) to drill camp to say hi, then over to themost recently drilled hole, where they were deploying a string of DOMs.

Tonight I'll report for work at 10:30PM and see if I can make it until 7:30AM!

I'm going through the usual adjustments:

- I'm taking diamox to avoid altitude sickness (the South Pole is effectively at around 12000 feet above sea level) which gives me prickly fingers and toes (like they've just fallen asleep. That'll stop after I finish my last day of pills tomorrow.

- Walking the half-mile or so from the station to the drill camp leaves me winded (again because of the low oxygen due to the effective altitude.) That'll get better in a week or so, especially after I resume running on an elliptical machine. Unfortunately, a month of running on the elliptical last year DIDN'T give me the stamina of a Kenyan runner when I got back!

- The bloody boogers have started! The South Pole is one of the driest places on Earth because all moisture freezes out of the air. I assume that lack of humidity causes a bit of trauma to my (and virtually everyone else's) sinus cavities, enough to cause a slight discoloration of one's "nasal discharge." It's a little disconcerting the first time it happens, but it's a totally normal part of the South Pole experience.

I'll get my first 2-minute shower in a day or two!

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