Coming dwn first time wintr over


Antarctica Forums Forums Antarctic Memories Message Board Discussion topics Coming dwn first time wintr over

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #647
    trmcc27
    Member

    Hello folks! first let me thank you all for posting the information you put on here. For a first timer like me it has been invaluable. I will be at Mcmurdo as a firefighter this winter. I am very excited but also trying to be realistic. I so admire those who have endured the winter in past years, I am sure it is no picnic. On the other hand how few people have the opportunity to experience the raw majesty that is Antarctica. I will probably be referring to it in different terms in August if what I read is accurate. Still I feel honored to be chosen for a position.

    I have several questions that I would love feedback on.
    1. What is the likelihood of getting packages if mailed now…I imagine zero…but can folks mail packages for me in say June for August delivery? How do people get their prescription medications if there is no mail over the winter?

    2. How much clothing do you bring and what weights? I would guess some thermals would be in order, what kind of socks work best…ect.

    3. Do I need voltage changers for my laptop and clock radio?

    4. What housing unit should I choose? Are some better than others? I am not overly picky but would enjoy a window if I could get one.

    5. Communicating with home. I heard that SKYPE and other P2P stuff on the net is strictly foreboten! I have a Majick Jack (phone over the net USB) and was wondering if I could use that. If not how are the phones? Can you recommend a good cheap phone card company?

    6. Can I take a video camera? I have a new video cam that takes still pics as well and records them on a mini disk. Have you figured out that I am a technical moron yet? Hope you IT guys are not laughing too hard.

    7. What items do you consider indispensable. I generally forget stuff when I pack but do not want to miss the key stuff. I will pack that first so I don’t forget.

    8. We are allowed around 125lbs of luggage but how much of that will be taken up by the ECW gear? Does that count toward the overall total?

    9. Where are the good pubs in NZ. Anything I should not miss, or miss for that matter. Don’t want to run afoul of some Maori biker gang or anything!

    10. Just wanted to stretch this to ten questions…seemed like a nice round number.

    Thanks again for taking the time to read this post. All feedback will be greatly appreciated. Thanks and God Bless you all!

    Terence

    #6231
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    Yo, Terence.

    You’ve come to the right place. Amid our barbs and snide remarks you may find some useful tidbits of information. I’ll answer the few questions I can and let others deal with the easy ones…

    @trmcc27 wrote:

    I am sure it is no picnic.

    Actually, we’ve had some very nice picnics. Ants are not a problem. The drinks tend to freeze up quickly but a little anti-freeze (a.k.a., single malt scotch) will prevent that.

    > 3. Do I need voltage changers for my laptop and clock radio?

    No, not unless you buy your electronics in New Zealand. McMurdo uses 110V/60Hz like the states.

    > 5. Communicating with home. I heard that SKYPE and other P2P stuff on the net is strictly foreboten!
    > I have a Majick Jack (phone over the net USB) and was wondering if I could use that.

    Try it. Chances are it’ll be blocked. The limitation is the small bandwidth (the internet “pipe”) the station uses. If everybody used Skype and similar services it would quickly bring everything to a halt.

    > If not how are the phones? Can you recommend a good cheap phone card company?

    The phones work, sort of. I bought my phone card at Sam’s Club (ATT, .03/min) but there are certainly cheaper ones out there.

    > 6. Can I take a video camera?

    What, are you kidding? Take it! And lots of extra rechargeable batteries.

    > 7. What items do you consider indispensable.

    A girlfriend.

    > 9. Where are the good pubs in NZ.

    All of NZ is a good pub. If you want specifics, in Christchurch my recommendation is Dux Delux (good microbrew) in the Arts Center. Bailey’s in the square is the hang-out for many Ice folks. There’s also another brewpub in town that, IMO, has the very best beer, but for the life of me I can’t tell you how to get there. It’s on a weird alley somewhere. After a few pints at Dux I can somehow navigate my way there…

    > Anything I should not miss

    Don’t miss your flight.

    Cheers,

    glenn

    #6232
    m0loch
    Keymaster

    @trmcc27 wrote:

    Hello folks! first let me thank you all for posting the information you put on here. For a first timer like me it has been invaluable. I will be at Mcmurdo as a firefighter this winter. I am very excited but also trying to be realistic. I so admire those who have endured the winter in past years, I am sure it is no picnic. On the other hand how few people have the opportunity to experience the raw majesty that is Antarctica. I will probably be referring to it in different terms in August if what I read is accurate. Still I feel honored to be chosen for a position.

    I have several questions that I would love feedback on.
    1. What is the likelihood of getting packages if mailed now…I imagine zero…but can folks mail packages for me in say June for August delivery? How do people get their prescription medications if there is no mail over the winter?

    no mail over winter. I don’t use prescriptions so I’m not so well versed as to the ins and outs but there is a way to get a 6 or 9 month supply shipped to the medical clinic…..there is some complication with customs so you can’t bring it on your person nor ship it to yourself. If you are in the category of needing a prescription for the winter you need to call medical and get their advice.

    2. How much clothing do you bring and what weights? I would guess some thermals would be in order, what kind of socks work best…ect.

    You’ll be issued some thermals, though I haven’t been down since the rules changed – I wouldn’t worry a great deal about it but I always find that bringing my own base layer i.e. silk weight long underbritches a good solution. I am very partial to wigwam comfort hiker wool socks – they’re a midweight merino wool sock that I like a lot and wear year round. You’ll be issued one (or is it two?) pair of expedition weight socks – that will probably suffice if you bring your own midweight ones. Also, to the best of my knowledge, neck gaiters and balaclavas have been removed from the standard issue list but they are still available if you ask for them. I would highly recommend that you ask for them if you are not automatically issued them at clothing warehouse in CHC. Also while at clothing issue make sure you get clear and dark lenses with your goggles.

    4. What housing unit should I choose? Are some better than others? I am not overly picky but would enjoy a window if I could get one.

    That’s usually a personal preference – one of the things that you won’t know until you have done a season…..If you want to be able to get up in the morning and go to the galley for a cup of coffee in your P.J.s and bunny slippers ask for dorm 155 if you would rather be able to go to the bathroom without having to go down the hall request 208 or 209. You can probably have a window…count on it if you are in 208 or 209, though the best views will be snatched up by those with more housing points than you.

    5. Communicating with home. I heard that SKYPE and other P2P stuff on the net is strictly foreboten! I have a Majick Jack (phone over the net USB) and was wondering if I could use that. If not how are the phones? Can you recommend a good cheap phone card company?

    calls to the Denver metro area are local – so free. Otherwise plan on purchasing a phone card of some sort – just shop around and find something that will work for you. The majick jack thing probably won’t work, but I don’t know for sure

    6. Can I take a video camera? I have a new video cam that takes still pics as well and records them on a mini disk. Have you figured out that I am a technical moron yet? Hope you IT guys are not laughing too hard.

    you can and should…learn how to use the thing and make an entry into the winterover film fest. I’ll be looking forward to your entry.

    7. What items do you consider indispensable. I generally forget stuff when I pack but do not want to miss the key stuff. I will pack that first so I don’t forget.

    oh…and vowels, bring some vowels. They don’t take up any room or weight in your luggage.

    Your passport – other than that, I opine that we could all learn a lesson about packing for the ice from Mike’s boss.

    8. We are allowed around 125lbs of luggage but how much of that will be taken up by the ECW gear? Does that count toward the overall total?

    The ECW does count towards the overall total….last I knew the limit for w/o was 140 pounds…..keep in mind that you can store your travel gear at the CDC in CHC….but 140 pounds should be more than enough allowance and will likely only be loosely enforced on your trip down anyhow.

    9. Where are the good pubs in NZ. Anything I should not miss, or miss for that matter. Don’t want to run afoul of some Maori biker gang or anything!

    I’ll second the recommendation for Dux Deluxe and you should at least give Baileys a whirl to form your own opinion about it….seems a lot of ice people like it though I can’t figure out why. If you have time to get to Lyttleton I would highly recommend a bar called the Wunderbar

    10. Just wanted to stretch this to ten questions…seemed like a nice round number.

    Yes, 10 > 9.

    Thanks again for taking the time to read this post. All feedback will be greatly appreciated. Thanks and God Bless you all!

    Terence

    #6233
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    . What is the likelihood of getting packages if mailed now…I imagine zero…but can folks mail packages for me in say June for August delivery? How do people get their prescription medications if there is no mail over the winter?
    You still have a chance, but mail right away. Better in a Priority package.

    2. How much clothing do you bring and what weights? I would guess some thermals would be in order, what kind of socks work best…ect.

    Bring warm stuff for the winter. You get good cold weather clothing, but it’s drab and the same as everyone else. What you would enjoy wearing in dead winter in the states is what you will like here. The Big Red jacket will suffice for keeping you warm outside. You don’t need a second coat, but a light shell is nice for warmer days.

    3. Do I need voltage changers for my laptop and clock radio?
    The voltage in MCM is the same as the US. Most laptops will run on 110v to 240v so when in NZ, double check your transformer and if compatable, you can plug direct with a converter available at the airport. The clock radio probably will not run on NZ 220v, so don’t use it in NZ.

    4. What housing unit should I choose? Are some better than others? I am not overly picky but would enjoy a window if I could get one.

    If you are a first timer (FINGEE) you probably won’t get a choice. If you do, B155 are big rooms but have a bathroom down the hall . You get a room to yourself for the winter but will have up to 4 people at winfly and mainbody. 208 and 209 have 2 rooms connected by a common shower/toilet. You get one room to yourself for the winter and will have a roommate for Winfly. Each of these have a window, most look out into windows of the building next door. Most people plug the windows with blankets etc to keep the room warmer.

    5. Communicating with home. I heard that SKYPE and other P2P stuff on the net is strictly foreboten! I have a Majick Jack (phone over the net USB) and was wondering if I could use that. If not how are the phones? Can you recommend a good cheap phone card company?

    No VOIP is allowed. Buy a phone card before you go. You can find them for 3 cents a minute or so. Recharge them as needed from your credit card.

    6. Can I take a video camera? I have a new video cam that takes still pics as well and records them on a mini disk. Have you figured out that I am a technical moron yet? Hope you IT guys are not laughing too hard.

    Yes bring extra disks, you can’t buy them here.

    7. What items do you consider indispensable. I generally forget stuff when I pack but do not want to miss the key stuff. I will pack that first so I don’t forget.

    Bring a towel. sometimes they have them here sometimes not. Bring or mail all toiletries you like. You can buy toothpaste, shampoo ect. here , but you have to take their selection.

    8. We are allowed around 125lbs of luggage but how much of that will be taken up by the ECW gear? Does that count toward the overall total?

    Yes, it counts toward the overall total. Figure a good 30lbs of gear, but if push comes to shove, on the flights wear all the heavy stuff. Hand carry and things you wear don’t count for the weight limit. Hand carry bags must fit under the seats. They monitor the sizes when flights are crowded.

    9. Where are the good pubs in NZ. Anything I should not miss, or miss for that matter. Don’t want to run afoul of some Maori biker gang or anything!

    Don’t worry, just follow the rest of the USAP crowd. The two common ones are Dux Deluxe by they YMCA and Thomas’s and downtown there is Baileys Bar.

    10. Just wanted to stretch this to ten questions…seemed like a nice round number.

    Thanks again for taking the time to read this post. All feedback will be greatly appreciated. Thanks and God Bless you all!

    Terencetrmcc27

    Posts: 5
    Joined: 27 Jan 2009 03:14
    Private messageE-mail

    #6234
    trmcc27
    Member

    I just want to thank you all so much for being so helpful. Hell I feel at home down there already and I haven’t even left the states! I really appreciate you taking the time to give me what I am sure is great advice. With folks like you down there I am sure this will be a wonderful place to work. I cannot thank you enough, see you in a few weeks.

    Terence

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.