Bag Drag time

 

JD and I shared this snow machine on the ride to Room With a View

JD and I shared this snow machine on the ride to Room With a View

Long view of glaciers and the frozen ocean

Long view of glaciers and the frozen ocean

8 bladed props on the LC-130 from the South Pole

8 bladed props on the LC-130 from the South Pole

The Chinese journalist off the research ship after our ping pong match

The Chinese journalist off the research ship after our ping pong match

 

The medical team poses for a parting shot

The medical team poses for a parting shot

 

 

Great country band at one of the bars

Great country band at one of the bars

 

Catherine and Lynn holding their dental certificates

Catherine and Lynn holding their dental certificates

Greetings campers,

My time is winding down, but it’s been another great season on the Ice. Tonight I bag drag which means shIepping  all my gear to be weighed and  then palletized for the 8 hour flight to Christchurch tomorrow. I managed to win the ping pong tournament and celebrated until I challenged a Chinese journalist who was visiting from a research vessel that sent a dozen folks over to our base by helicopter, but it was a good diplomatic move for US-Sino relations when he beat me later that same night. A nice finishing touch to my time here the next day  was a 45 minute snow mobile run out on the glacier to the area called Room With a View. The crane operator, JD and I shared a machine out there and back and enjoyed spectacular vistas of glaciers and ocean landscapes.

My dental services wrapped up yesterday and I awarded all those that lent me a hand with a signed certificate of dental assisting in Antarctica, which should add some muscle to resumes for the next round of contracts. The medical folks are all heading home, leaving behind one doctor and PA for the six month winter of cold and darkness, which I would like to do as much as I’d like to watch political commentary for the next 10 months.

Next stop is New Zealand for a night and then hopefully a last minute purchase of a  flight to Bangkok to meet Pat for a week in Thailand and Cambodia. Then on to Florida to soak up the sun before making my way back to Colorado in mid-March.  Hope your winter is going well and will see many of you soon on the mainland.

Cheers,

Bag Drag Bob

Dry dive to 130 feet!

Hi undersea fans,

Last week the call went out for volunteers who had scuba experience to go in the Navy hyperbaric chamber and test some dive computers for accuracy, so Rob the aerospace doc, Lynn the flight nurse and I signed up. The idea was to go down to 130 foot depth and write down the gauge numbers as we ascended back to the surface, while ignoring the probable nitrogen narcosis that occurs for many people at that depth and results in a very pleasant “I don’t care what happens anymore” experience. Rob and I felt pretty buzzed at that point and would have played some hop scotch but Lynn kept us focused and we finished the task and the high wore off by the time we emerged back to the outside world.

My south pole time finished up without incident and I flew out on a brilliant, sunny day with the wind chill at 55 below, returning to McMurdo in balmy temps above freezing and plenty of oxygen. I was sporting my repaired sunglasses after making friends with someone who had brought down a 3D printer who made a replacement part for the broken arm on my glasses. Since being back, I’ve held on to my ping pong title, done some bar-b-queing on the ice shelf for the folks at the long duration balloon project, finished up some root canals and did a fair number of fillings and cleanings. To top the week off, we biked down to see a few penguins this afternoon who are hanging around waiting to molt into their new winter coat.

One more week before meeting Pat in Bangkok and doing some SE Asia touring. Apparently I missed a good snow storm in Colorado, but plenty of snow here to make up for it.

Cheers,

Hyperbaric Bob

 

Still smiling after descending in the Navy Hyperbaric chamber

Still smiling after descending in the Navy Hyperbaric chamber

Reading our gauges as we dive to 130 feet

Reading our gauges as we dive to 130 feet

Hamish the South Pole winter doc learning some dentistry

Hamish the South Pole winter doc learning some dentistry

 

The 3D printer that made new arms for my sunglasses

The 3D printer that made new arms for my sunglasses

The grow chamber at the South Pole for fresh greens

The grow chamber at the South Pole for fresh greens

Grilling shrimp and steak for lunch on the ice shelf

Grilling shrimp and steak for lunch on the ice shelf

Bird’s eye view of the cargo ship docked at McMurdo

Bird’s eye view of the cargo ship docked at McMurdo

A plump Adele penguin hanging out for his molting session

A plump Adele penguin hanging out for his molting session

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Pole News

Jim and I enjoying a few quiet moments next to an old Delta

Jim and I enjoying a few quiet moments next to an old Delta

55,000 year old ice at the Spice Core drill site

55,000 year old ice at the Spice Core drill site

 

Doc Sarah holding some glass clear ice at the Spice Core site

Doc Sarah holding some glass clear ice at the Spice Core site

 

Frozen C-130 at the South Pole and disabled plane in the upper left- note the line of people walking the runway looking for debris

Frozen C-130 at the South Pole and disabled plane in the upper left- note the line of people walking the runway looking for debris

Camping spot at the South Pole !

Camping spot at the South Pole !

 

Tourists pay $50,000 to fly to the South Pole for a photo op!

Tourists pay $50,000 to fly to the South Pole for a photo op!

 

Successful wisdom teeth patient wearing her teeth as earrings and a necklace

Successful wisdom teeth patient wearing her teeth as earrings and a necklace

 

The traverse team of tractors nears the South Pole station after 1000 mile run from McMurdo

The traverse team of tractors nears the South Pole station after 1000 mile run from McMurdo

New dental drills at the South Pole clinic

New dental drills at the South Pole clinic

Skiing outside the South Pole station to the geographic pole marker

Skiing outside the South Pole station to the geographic pole marker

Hola Icelovers,

              After only a day of delay, which is a shockingly low waiting period for  this place, I flew to the South Pole with a few friends to work on teeth for the  folks who can go nowhere but north.  Our C-130 skied to a landing and the plane  picked up about 30 folks who were heading out of there, but it soon returned  because of weather issues. Since all the rooms at the station were full they  became refuges on the gym floor for 5 days which was aptly renamed the  refugasium. The plane sat frozen through the night in 40 below wind chills and  was unfit to fly by morning, so it will be weeks before the seals can be  replaced and it can head back to McMurdo, so other planes have been making the 4  hour trip from McMurdo.

            Sarah the doc has been  filling my schedule with folks who are  planning to spend the 10 month winter season at the Pole, so I’ve been busy with  check-ups, cleanings and fixing a few chipped teeth. The one highlight was a  young lady who admitted   that she has been told in the past that her wisdom  teeth ought to go, but she said she didn’t have the funds to take care of that.  I countered that I could solve that objection, so after a few minutes of  contemplation, she said “let’s go for it!” The surgery went well, and when we  checked on her the next day she was presented with custom earings and a necklace  pendant  of   her  former choppers, which she proudly wore to  dinner that night.

          I’ve   fought off all ping pong challenges, won and lost a few games of  Scrabble,   and did a great 2 mile ski out to the ice core  project called Spice-Core as they reached 1 mile under the ice to pull up a 55 thousand year old sample that is as clear as glass. It looks like I’ll be here at least a few more days to train the winter doc and PA once they make it here next week, then head back to McMurdo for a few weeks of dental care before winter returns and I head out in mid-February.

Send  some news and don’t forget the sunscreen when you venture out in 24/7  sunshine.

Cheers,

       Pole dentist  Bob

Back on the Ice

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Rob and Andy join me on our first hike up Observation Hill  looking out over the frozen Ross Sea

Rob and Andy join me on our first hike up Observation Hill
looking out over the frozen Ross Sea

The US Coast Guard icebreaker opens a path for the cargo ship

The US Coast Guard icebreaker opens a path for the cargo ship

Weddell seals hanging out on the sea ice as it begins to break up

Weddell seals hanging out on the sea ice as it begins to break up

Hi fellow travelers,       

       After 2 weeks of building up my tolerance for heat in Florida, where it was 86 degrees on Christmas and New Year’s Day, I deployed south. After a nice 4 hour stop in Dallas for bar-b-que with my brother and sister I boarded the double decker Airbus 130 for 16 hours to Sydney, Australia, where I was able to catch up on most of the new release movies I have not seen in the last 12 months. Since I had a 12 hour layover there, I ventured out despite the non stop rain and took in a few sights before the midnight run to Christchurch, New Zealand. Two days turned into three after the flight to McMurdo was cancelled, but last Saturday I landed on the Ross Ice shelf in bright sunshine.     
       It’s been a great week of seeing lots of old friends and trying to remember everyone’s name. I’ve also managed to beat all the best ping pong players on the base, so now I’ve heard they are conspiring to figure out how to overthrow my position. I suspect we’ll trade the top spot back and forth over the next 4 weeks, but it’s fun to be the best for however long it lasts.   
     I’ve already done a few root canals, pulled a couple of wisdom teeth and fixed a few fractured teeth from a mosh pit collision and an aggressive kissing incident, where speculation is that in both cases alcohol may have played a part. Tomorrow looks like a good day for a glacial hike and climb up Castle Rock for a bird’s eye view of the frozen sea and distant Transantarctic mountains, since I’m scheduled to fly to the South Pole on Monday to play dentist there for a few days.  
Cheers, 
     Top Dog Bob