Sunday, August 10, 2008

Putting the "N" in NPX

So, NPX is the abbreviation for Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Now, before you say anything crude about my intelligence, just remember that this place was originally occupied by the U.S. Navy. Hence, NPX actually standing for Naval Pole Station, not North Pole Station.

So, why the talk about the boat folks? Well, because for SSC I showed "Master and Commander" last night. It really was a lot of fun to see a ship (The Surprise) which I got to tour way back when I was getting some training for a science project in San Diego. I had a slide show of my pictures playing before we rolled the hilarious trailer "reel" in which I got to do my best bombastic announcer voice in both English and Russian. Sunday morning a friend and I made some sea biscuits (a.k.a. hard tack) for theme snacks during the movie that evening. I mistakenly used bread flower, which had some leavening agent, so the biscuits rose a little bit while being baked. We let them sit out on the bakery rack all day, which meant that what little moisture was left in them got mostly sucked out by our lovely desert air here on the Antarctic Plateau. The weird thing was that these sea biscuits were made with an expectation that people wouldn't really want to eat something with very little taste and the consistency of some weaker forms of stone. It came as a total surprise when folks actually ate them up pretty quickly, and commented on how good they were. I guess when the kitchen has their day off folks here will appreciate most any tidbit somebody else will prepare for them!

It all combined to make me really want to sign up to go on the Stad Amsterdam when I get out of here, and spend 19 days sailing from the Canary Islands to St. Martin. Crossing the Atlantic by sail would definitely be quite an adventure, and with masts about twice as tall as those of the Soren Larsen I could definitely get my kicks up in the rigging.

Here at Pole we're sitting on our own ocean, but it's of a bit more frozen/solid state than most.

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