msnbc.com
updated 12/8/2006 3:20:33 AM ET 2006-12-08T08:20:33

Sent to Antarctica for a global warming report that will be published in January, MSNBC.com's Miguel Llanos and John Brecher sent daily dispatches about life on the ice. Readers responded by sending in their observations as well as personal experiences of their time on "the Ice." See their comments here:

----

“Your exploits and experiences ‘on the Ice’ remind me of the 1½ years I spent there during the ‘great unpleasantry.’”

“McMurdo Station at that time was just a shack, no more.  Scientists were spread out and to visit one another we had to work our way 2 or more miles to each other. Now mind you, 2 miles then was long trip most especially during the very trying times our governments (U.S. and New Zealand) weren't getting along.

“My stint there was, and is still ‘on a need to know’ basis so I won't elaborate.

“You flew in on a C-17, and that is fantastic! I was dropped off by helo after being transported via a nuclear aircraft carrier. Ah, those were the days of cloak and dagger, yes.”

----

“Are there really girls there? There weren't 40 years ago when I was there. … I worked on ‘the hill’ where the old nuclear power plant was.”
“We had a ‘real’ flush toilet -- the only one at that time. It fed the
‘awful house’ -- a very small building that housed only one thing – a septic tank.”

----

“I was the NSF (National Science Foundation) public information officer assigned to McMurdo '63-'65. At that time, the NSF PR guy (always a guy then) spent full time on the ice from October to February. So I was there twice, each time spending five months on the ice and one month in Christchurch (New Zealand). It was the greatest adventure and one of the most influential episodes in my life (I'm now 67).
“Later, I wrote ‘Beyond the Barrier: The Story of Byrd's First Expedition to Antarctica,’ a source of profound satisfaction to me and my legacy to history.
“But you can't go home again. Things have changed so much. I was just commenting to my wife that back in my time going to Antarctica was like going on a long camping trip with the guys.  It's hard to believe that women are down there now. Odd, but the first thing that came to mind on reading your accounts was that the old peeing system is no more. Forty years ago, there was a 55 gallon drum with a funnel in it outside each barracks. If you had to pee during the ‘night’ you just went outside and did it. Gone are the days.”

----

“I really wish you would spend some time with the aircrews from the 109th Airlift Wing, i.e. find out how they plan their missions, what they do all over the continent … how they love their jobs, how the families love what they do but miss them so much. You see, they are gone every single year at this time. That means they are always gone one or both of the holidays (i.e. Thanksgiving or Christmas/Hannukah). They do a terrific job and I think they deserve more than a quick mention that you just flew on one of them on a milk run (South Pole run). They are the ONLY ONES IN THE WORLD that fly LC-130s.”

----

“I retired from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas. A crew from the facility is down in McMurdo now with several science groups preparing to launch high altitude balloons carrying the scientific gondolas.”

----

“The CSBF team … are setting up for launches of scientific payloads shortly. However, we don't use rockets. Too hard to set up down there. We use very large balloons. How large? Big as the Houston Astrodome!”

----

“Having been a Winter-Over in 91, It was funny to see Kevin Fields is still hanging about. Ask him if he still has that old Plymouth!”

----

“I live and work in Montezuma, Iowa, and one of my fellow employees is currently at McMurdo working at the Wastewater Treatment Facility. His name is Paul Jones and he is a former High School Science Teacher. He is retired now and works part time for the City. This is his third trip to McMurdo and the stories he brings home are priceless.”

----

“I love the pictures it really makes us grateful for our weather here at home, it sure gets a lot colder there then it does here in Minnesota. By the way the dress party looked very interesting. Anyone bring kilts or need any extra skirts sent to them? I'm sure everyone here would be glad to donate a couple.”

----

“I was amazed to see the picture of the passenger accommodations on the C-17, and shown as ‘no-frills’. As a member of the Navy’s VXE-6, I went to the Ice in a C-130 and a C-141. We were packed like sardines with no comfy looking seat.”

----

“My father, who is retired from the US Navy, traveled to McMurdo Station in the 1970s and returned with wonderful stories of his trip to ‘the Ice’. Thank you so much for running this story and giving me a glimpse of the sites that he encountered on his way to this extraordinary destination. The entire personnel staff is to be commended for maintaining this facility under such harsh conditions. Well done!”

----

“It has almost been 10 years now since I was on the ice. I went down when I was 18. I had won a grant with the NSF to be a research assistant. It was a life changing experience for me and I met some great people. One of those individuals I met is now my husband. Antarctica holds a special place in my heart.”

----

“I served in McMurdo during the Antarctic summer season (our winter) of '91 with the US Army. … Our group was responsible for processing pallets of equipment and other various items through ‘Hill Cargo’ (Don't know if they still call it that but it was just outside the doorway of the main enlisted/grunt barracks ...  basically opposite of the galley. 

… some of the best memories I've ever had in my life. Traveling to and living (for 6 months) in Antarctica was an experience like no other I've ever had. Even back then, Thanksgiving and Christmas were wonderful times filled with a ton of camaraderie … my unit loved our time down there and were severely disappointed when they cancelled the mission the following year.

----

“I was on the ice for Deep Freeze (military’s name for annual support mission) 1966-67 on a scientific study on air pollution.  The times have certainly changed a lot of things.  ...  When I flew down the flight from Christchurch to McMurdo was between 12 and 13 hours on a C121 Super Constellation named Pegasus with a flying red horse painted on the side. I understand that it still sits at Williams field after a mishap. (Editor’s note: the plane’s tail and part of the fuselage is still visible, but most has been swallowed by the ice.)

“Our lodging was in fabricated huts with a pee barrel at one end so we didn't need to travel to the central latrine in the middle of the ‘night’. In my time there the nuclear power plant on the hill was just getting up and running and I understand that it since has been dismantled.”

----

“I spent the 2004-2005 season on the Ice as a shuttle driver, and every day, I think about going back. The people, the community that is built, the creativity that they each possess, it is something I had never experienced before and (it) is a community environment that I would love to re-create elsewhere (some place warmer and greener!) but I can't. Try as I may, it is a situation so unique, that the dynamic can only exist on the Ice.”

----

“Your words and photos take me back to a very magical time in my life. Antarctica is a harsh continent (how many times have you heard that?), and you need all the friends you can get (and keep!).”

----

“I was surprised about the quality of food and morale-boosting efforts at the station. I guess I expected astronaut-like conditions.”

----

“I feel like I am getting two similar stories, from two different people at the same time. Want to know why?  My brother, Dan Steinhoff, was on the same flight from Christchurch to Antarctica as you were. So he is going through (or has gone through) the same things you are!!  He is a researcher from Ohio State – a meteorologist working with the team of forecasters down there.  He has not been there before so everything is a new experience for him too. I am including his blog for your viewing pleasure:”

frozendaze.blogspot.com

© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments