What's An Average Day Like In Antarctica?

Illustration for article titled What's An Average Day Like In Antarctica?

Antarctica is a place most of us will never see outside of pictures. But what's it like when one of nature's most taxing (and stunning) environments is also just the place you call home?

In response to this post asking what things visitors are always getting wrong about the place that you make your home, one commenter noted a couple things about Antarctica.


Including what people got right, and what they got wrong, about what it was like living in the cold (but maybe not as cold as you think) and desolate environment:


I work in Antarctica and the #1 misconception is that there are polar bears here. There are none, polar bears are up north, penguins are down south. The #2 misconception is that we are all scientists. It is true that the only reason anyone gets to come to Antarctica (no matter which country you're from) is to support science. However, only about 15% of the people here are scientists; the rest of us support science.

Other things to know: We do not eat the wildlife, it's against the Antarctic Treaty. There are no natives, there is no Antarctic language. Yes, it is cold. It can be damn cold, but it can also be warmer than where you are. (Today it is 21F). At McMurdo we average a max of 40F in the summer, but I've seen it pop up to 60F. It's more beautiful and more desolate than you can ever imagine

Image: A snow pit dug in Antarctica to measure snowfall depth and evenness / NASA

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I know two brothers that have worked in Antarctica on and off for six years. Here's what I have learned about living on the "Ice."

-There's a bowling alley.

-Wednesday is Mexican food and people get pissed if there isn't isn't fresh guacamole.

-They have crazy theme parties. (My friends went as Master Blaster when they had a Mad Max party)

-It's pretty much exactly what you would imagine living in the dorms would be like if everyone was 25.

-A bumper sticker my friend brought back sums it up nicely. "Antarctica, nothin' but pussy and Mangos."