South Pole Outdoor Beach Party

Trip Start Dec 18, 2008
Trip End Feb 17, 2009

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Where I stayed
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Flag of Antarctica  ,
Friday, January 2, 2009

Although Pole is much more comfortable, it is still the most remote destination in the world, surrounded by miles of ice in every direction.  Still, I remind myself every day I'm really lucky to be here.  Workers at McMurdo often have to put in a few seasons before they get a courtesy trip to the Pole.  McMurdo does have its ups, though.  They have three bars with differing atmospheres, and a bowling alley.

One of the perks of South Pole is you get to take fun pictures with the ceremonial pole marker, which looks just like a barber pole--red and white stripes and shiny ball on top.  It's now mid-summer and it will only get colder from here, so I decide it's a good time to take swimsuit photos at the Pole.

Stripping down for the act is a time honored tradition, and though it's discouraged by management (mostly off-site management in Centennial Colorado outside of Denver, many people take it off for their Pole Marker photo shoot.  I opt for swimsuits in mine, saving my nakedness for McMurdo later in the season.  

 Accompanied by fellow galley workers and various other participants, we all tromp outside with cameras and beach gear to take some photos.  We strip down on beach towels and drape ourselves around the pole marker like an out of place Corona commercial. It is surprisingly easy once cold to stay in swimsuits for a few minutes, and we ran back inside the station and straight to the Sauna with self-esteem soaring.  

 During the winter, the small and slightly zany group of people willing to wait through six months of darkness waits for the temperature to drop to -100 F and then become part of the 300 club.  Polies crank the heat in the sauna, prepping the temperature censors in cold water to trick them up to 200 F.  They then brave the heat of the Sauna, then streak around the Pole marker, and back to the station.  It is one of the craziest dares human beings have ever thought up, and I can't believe how much I want to do it!  Almost enough to sign up for a winter season.... but not quite yet.  
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