Hi! This is a place for me to record interesting things I find while working in Antarctica.

This year (2022-2023) I am deploying to Antarctica to work on IT projects. This is my first year on the ice.

Much of the day-to-day operations in Antarctica are run through the Antarctic Support Contract (ASC), on behalf of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs (OPP), to support science grantees. Collectively, this is all known as the United States Antarctic Program (USAP).


The content on this site is my own. It does not represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of my employer or any related entity. This is not an official source for information about Antarctica, the United States Antarctic Program, the National Science Foundation, or any other entity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you?

I’m a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, and I’ve worked a variety of IT and IT-adjacent jobs in the past. I’ve always been a fan of remote infrastructure, logistics, and energy systems, so Antarctica (or thereabouts) has been on my radar for a while.

Where are you working?

The initial contract I signed was at McMurdo Station, which is the largest of the 3 main US research stations in Antarctica. It’s located 2,415 miles south of Christchurch, NZ. During the summer, the station population reaches over 1,000 people. McMurdo is the main logistics hub for the majority of US science operations in Antarctica.

Midway through the season, I switched to a role at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. It’s located an additional ~850 miles south of McMurdo, high up on the polar plateau, right around 90° South latitude. During the Summer, the population can be as high as 200. South Pole Station has a number of large long-running science projects.

What is your actual job in Antarctica?

I work in IT, doing a variety of jobs as needed to keep the stations and science running smoothly.

How did you get this job?

I’ve been applying since 2017! It took 1,792 days since my first application until I heard back. From there, it was a series of interviews and then a gauntlet of onboarding tasks.

How long will you be in Antarctica?

Most contracts like this, including mine, are seasonal. The initial contract I signed at McMurdo was from August 2022 through February 2023, which included both Winfly and Summer.

I switched contracts and moved to the South Pole in December 2022, for a new contract which extends through South Pole Winter. I’ll depart Antarctica in late-2023, likely November.

August 2022 at McMurdo is Winfly, short for Winter Fly-in, which is a period of logistics activity to prep the station for summer science.

October 2022 is the start of Summer, known as Mainbody, which is the bustling summer science season.

February 2023 is when all the summer folks go home, and the stations transition into winter mode, with reduced staffing and projects.

From mid-February through end of October, South Pole Station is isolated. There are no flights in or out.

How did you get there?

Flights to McMurdo go through Christchurch, NZ. The United States Antarctic Program maintains a considerable logistics presence there. I flew commercial to Christchurch, and then on a USAP-managed C-17 flight to McMurdo.

My flight from McMurdo to the South Pole was on an LC-130.

Is there Internet?

Yes, but it’s slow. Everything is over satellites, with limited bandwidth. I have web access, I can make outgoing phone calls, and of course there’s this silly blog.

Internet access at the South Pole is only available for part of the day, based on satellite visibility.

Can you send me a postcard?

If I already know you in real life, maybe! Email me. Unfortunately I’m not able to send postcards to people I don’t already know.

EDIT: We’re isolated for the winter! No more postcards or mail, in or out, until the end of 2023.

Can I mail you stuff?

If I already know you in real life, maybe!

Mail is a bit nuanced (packages vs flats, APO customs declarations, prohibited items, timeline considerations, etc.) so please: no unsolicited mail.

EDIT: We’re isolated for the winter! No more postcards or mail, in or out, until the end of 2023.

Are there penguins?

Yes, usually not in downtown McMurdo, but definitely nearby.

Can you pet a penguin?

No, the Antarctic Treaty System is very clear on this matter.

I want a steady supply of penguin photos!

Unfortunately you’re more likely to get a steady supply of tedious posts about infrastructure.

Will you promise to at least take one photo of a penguin?

Too late! I left McMurdo without managing to get any penguin photos. There are no penguins, or wildlife of any kind, at the South Pole.

Fine, can you take a photo of a polar bear at the South Pole?

Sigh. No, polar bears live in the Arctic, not the Antarctic. Please stop asking me this.

It’s just gonna be photos of infrastructure from here on out. Sorry to disappoint.

Can you help me get a job in Antarctica?

No, I’m just a regular participant in the program, like anyone else. I have no sway with any hiring manager, and I’m figuring this all out for myself.

Can you do an interview for my TV show / news report / blog / documentary / podcast?

No. For starters, I can’t speak on behalf of the United States Antarctic Program. I’m free to share my experiences, but any sort of interview would imply an endorsement by the program. Your best bet is to reach out to official press contacts.

Second, I’m just some random person with a blog. I am decidedly not an expert on literally anything written here. I’m sharing my experiences, because they’re neat, and I’m happy that others find them neat as well.

But I am not a wilderness guru. I’m not a polar explorer. I’m not in any sort of position of power or authority. I have no accolades or awards to my name. I have no special insight into survival, the human condition, US Antarctic policy, or any other topic.

Remember – I flew here. I sit in a heated building all day. I drink tea and tap away at a computer. I go to bed early. I promise I am NOT the person you want to interview for your extreme adventure podcast.

You should write about <x>!

I’ve probably thought about it. I don’t mind if you email me a suggestion, but most likely it’s either already on my list, it’s a topic I’m not interested in writing about, it’s something that is private or internal to station life and would go against a community norm or expectation, or it’s something I can’t discuss due to my employment agreements.

Remember that this is a tight-knit community of people living their lives, and not every day-to-day happening is appropriate for public consumption. I’m very conscious of people’s privacy and consent, which is partially why most of this blog is about infrastructure and systems rather than people.

Also remember that at the end of the day, I’m a government contractor working at a government facility. There are expectations and restrictions that come along with this, which I’ve agreed to honor as a condition of my employment.

You should endorse my product!