one document every day of their life when essentially nothing changes?
In retrospect, I think that this was the single most
difficult aspect when writing about such a unique experience
spending a year in Antarctica.
Very little differed from one day to
the next during my stay at McMurdo. Keeping a year long journal was
boring and tedious process not only for me, but alone
readers as well. More than once I contemplated
the entire process only to be encouraged by the emails that I received
from well wishers.
Given the unique working and living conditions
that one faces in Antarctica, it was also very difficult to write
about certain topics. Essentially, what little I could write
about was sanitized. I tread very lightly when dealing
almost everyone and everything. The last thing that one needs in the
middle of an Antarctic winter is to
have antagonists in your
With the apologies over and done, I'll move on what's
happened in my life since.
Three days after my last journal entry,
I boarded a C-141 for Christchurch and returned to civilization. It
nearly one year and one week since I'd last seen grass.
Ella and I spent nearly two weeks in New Zealand and
Australia before I returned home for three months.
alienated by the "normal" world, I contacted Jordan at the McMurdo power
plant and learned of a
vacancy that winter. I jumped for it
and found myself back on the ice for the winter of '03. Turns out
other plant operators left before the winter started and
were replaced at the last minute with people from other
I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was a bit
dismayed at hearing that I would once again winter with people who I
thought were unqualified for the job. The two ladies brought
aboard were also very outgoing and overly
is not what one needs to deal with during the winter, which is much more
meditative and slower
paced. I saw conflict from the
outset, and this affected my attitude towards both the job and
Before mid-winter I had to say my mea kulpas and come about 180 degrees.
They really made the winter.
Even a crusty and sour winter
over like myself learned to appreciate their warmth and genuine good
would winter with anyone on that crew once again.
So here it is ladies...my humble apology for the world to
Of course, at that point I still hadn't gotten rid of the
venom that I had reserved for Raytheon (for reasons not
in my journal due the limitations stated above).
At the end of the
winter in 2002, several of my co-workers and I filed suite against
Raytheon for violating the
Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying
overtime. We worked 54 hours per week but were paid salaries.
US, you can't salary skilled labor or any other
position that is normally filled by what are traditionally hourly
During the winter, I became aware of another on ice
department managed by another company. I was qualified
the position and left the ice for 6 weeks in August and then returned in
October in the new role.
I'll not go into specifics about the new
job or company, but will say that I'm finally getting to experience some
Antarctica. I travelled extensively by helicopter and
tracked vehicle around Ross Island and on the continent
Anyway, in January of 2004 the court had reached a
decision about the overtime case. They sided with
and dismissed the complaint. The judge felt that Antarctica should
be viewed as a foreign country
and that applying the Fair Labor
Standards Act would upset the political nature of the Antarctic
Initially, I was bit upset at the decision but have since
come to accept it. To be honest, I'm somewhat relieved. I
was consumed with bitterness and negative energy. Now that it's
behind me I can focus on more positive
things. It also
means that I can finally put the closing comments on this experiment now
that there's no fear of
my website being used against me by my
After spending nearly 24 months out of a 29
month period on the ice, I find myself at home for a couple of
It's an odd little place, the United States.
People are in a hurry, advertising is in your face, and the there
little genuine interest in anyone or anything. It's
taking a long time to accept this very "un-ice" like
Aside from off season training at technical schools,
I'm not doing much but watching the world go by outside my
balcony. Ella is very understanding that I need time to
decompress before I re-enter the world and hasn't
placed a great
deal of pressure on me. As long as I keep the dishes washed and
laundry clean, that is...
In August, I'll return to the ice for the
Austral summer. I keep saying that it will be my final season, but
that twice before.
I don't have any plans to
update this site, although that may change should I do something of a
that I deem interesting enough to want to
Until then, thanks for reading and
07 April 2004.