Edit: Alright guys, Ive answered some more of your questions! Im about to meet some friends and play some board games, so Im gonna get off the computer again for a while! I will of course be on reddit later, so I can answer more questions! Have a good night!

Alright everyone, Ive been on here for a couple of hours and Im going to take a break for a while. Thank you all for the questions and Ill be back on later to answer more! TTFN! If you are interested in working down here, the best place to start looking is here: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/antarctic-support-contract/jobs-in-antarctica/visit-partners.html

Ok guys, I told my parents that I would call them today so I am doing that now. I will be back in about 30 minutes to answer more of your questions! See ya soon! :D

I have been living and working at McMurdo Station in Antarctica for a little over 3 months now. My job is to help keep the boilers and furnaces working properly, as well as fixing all manner of station utilities and assets!


Proof: http://imgur.com/e1gcBH2

Special plug for /r/Antarctica!

Here is a pano of my shop: http://i.imgur.com/1hzVS7n.jpg

Comments: 1199 • Responses: 111  • Date: 

felifae309 karma

So, is the earth flat or what?

Sanjispride529 karma


MechMeister252 karma

Did you even fix the coffee house today or are you just on the internet?

that place is cold as shit

Sanjispride195 karma

Hahaha so this is YOU, eh? Nice to finally put a face to the username!

You submitted a service request, so someone will get to it on Monday! But if we are playing games again tonight, then I will take a look at it then!

MechMeister111 karma

games around 8 most def

Sanjispride107 karma

Sweet, Ill see you then you jimmy.

G-Note173 karma

What do you do for fun down there?

Sanjispride299 karma

Well at McMurdo, there are lots of lounges with TVs (some of the really new and nice!), plus there are two bars (Southern and Gallagher's), a coffee house with a theater room, lots of hiking opportunities, group activities and clubs, live music, and internet of course!

mattkin22173 karma

How big is the community at McMurdo? And how does supplying two bars in Antartica work...do they fly a shit ton of alcohol down at a time or what? Follow up question, what is your drink of choice?

Sanjispride265 karma

McMurdo in the summer time usually has around 800-1000 people. And they supply the bars like they supply everything else around here. Every year a supply ship docks at the ice pier, and they off-load a bunch of containers and we on-load a bunch of trash and things we are getting rid of. There are warehouses that are filled to the brim with food and drinks (including booze). There are also periodic flights from New Zealand that supply us with things in-between the supply vessels.

My drink of choice is either Rum and Coke, or Whiskey and 7-Up!

mattkin22180 karma

Wow, I had no idea there were that many people on Antartica! I figured it would be a small team of scientists, similar to the ISS. I never realized I had so many questions about Antartica either!

What time zone do you use? How do people deal with extended months of light/dark in regards to sleeping? Do you ever get to enjoy meals like grilled steak, or since supply runs are periodic do foods served tend to be more non-perishable? Thanks for doing this, really cool!

Sanjispride176 karma

We use New Zealand time, so right now it is 12:55pm on January 31st.

I think people deal with the long days and long nights pretty fine. I know I have had no trouble with the constant daylight. I can imagine that it is harder to deal with the constant darkness.

And we do get special meals for Thanksgiving/christmas, but in general the food isnt all that bad. There is 24/7 pizza!

dirtypete198154 karma

How much does that Rum and Coke cost down there?

Sanjispride88 karma

$4 at the bars

kanaka_maalea151 karma

What's the best way for a regular guy to get a job there? I'm not a scientist or an electrician or truck driver. Does antarctica need any librarians?

Sanjispride180 karma

The easiest way is to come down as a Steward. Youll be doing work in the galley cleaning and some janitorial work, but it is by far the most common way for people to get their foot in the door.

kanaka_maalea96 karma

do you know the name of any companies I should apply with? I'm a US citizen.

L8r_Space_Cowboy45 karma

I see you're a mechanic, do you think there might be some work for a welder/fabricator?

Sanjispride71 karma

Yes sir! They work in the same building as me!

Trooper1911127 karma

How fast is your internet? And do you do any online gaming from there?

Sanjispride230 karma

The internet is fast enough to browse reddit, but they restrict the bandwidth to social media websites and youtube, because EVERYONE is trying to use these all the time and the science teams have higher priority access.

Online gaming would only be possible in the really early hours of the morning, and even then the ping would be incredibly high.

Here is the speed test I just struggled to run! http://www.speedtest.net/result/5043658524.png

Trooper1911112 karma

2s ping :( ouch. What about....recreational websites? Are they blocked, and how do you get around the restrictions?

Sanjispride169 karma

Pretty much all websites are allowed, except for porn, gambling, etc, because its a federal government owned network.

Funkyapplesauce54 karma

But since you're at mcmurdo, there are probably enough people to have a pretty sweet LAN party.

Sanjispride59 karma

Im sure if someone brought a router then this could be done!

ken2723823 karma

So since netflix is out of the question you must have a huge DVD collection.

Sanjispride57 karma

The station store has a big collection of movies to rent, but I brought an 2 TB HDD, haha!

ken2723840 karma

When you get back you should check out the documentary "A Year On Ice" on netflix. It's really really good.

Sanjispride16 karma

I plan on it!

scrapper1 karma

The Antarctic is less than 50 miles from Denver, Colorado?

Sanjispride1 karma

Oh no! Youve discovered my ruse! The earth is flat and this AMA is misinformation! I am a shill! /s

Thats just where the satellite beams our signal to.

ElectricWraith121 karma

A Marine buddy of mine got a job with the NSF working in Antarctica when he got out in 1998. He spent six months down there fixing Comm, Nav, and Radar systems. When he got back he said that in regards to the social/dating scene the women ran everything. In essence the men didn't even think about approaching the women, they just waited to see if they'd get 'selected'. Any truth to this?

Sanjispride160 karma

I have no idea! I have a GF back home and I havent been paying attention to the dating scene. I guess no woman has approached me, so does that answer your question? They probably all go for the firefighters, I think.

felifae98 karma


Sanjispride34 karma


benderoversomething65 karma

Good answer my man....good answer.

Sanjispride49 karma

Only answer!

phraps30 karma

...blink twice if your GF is monitoring this thread

Sanjispride36 karma

I told her about it! She has the top comment!

Black91x116 karma

Are the Dogs friendly? Is MacReady a cool guy to hang with?

Sanjispride75 karma

Yes and yes!

PainusBrainus113 karma

How did they let a Jimmy john like you on the the continent of Antarctica?

Sanjispride98 karma

Because I paid the ferryman!

PainusBrainus38 karma

Don't do it!

Sanjispride31 karma

Rumor has it your the champs.

Sanjispride23 karma

I like how far up this comment is.

inspgadget83 karma

Have you done any Geocaching down there?

Sanjispride95 karma

I have not! I didnt even think to look up to see if there are any down here! I will do that this week!

zero4456 karma

If you have a smartphone, download the game "Ingress", made by Google. There are several locations tagged in the game in McMurdo, and there is a mission/quest there. It's kind of like geocaching on your phone except with teams.

(Also, pick green/Enlightened).

Sanjispride40 karma

Ive tried playing Ingress back in the day. Im not sure how well it would work without cell service down here though.

e-herder81 karma

Well I'm a utility electrical technician. How do I come be a pain in your ass and blame equipment malfunctions on your shoddy mechanical equipment?

Lou_Diamonds73 karma

How's the weed situation in Antarctica? You got a "guy" down there?

Sanjispride98 karma

Im sure that people sneak some down here, but I dont smoke so I dont know if there is someone that people go to.

vee_lan_cleef13 karma

I'm assuming you're drug tested as part of your application before they let you down there? I would imagine that would apply to even basic positions since it's contract work and they're paying to get you down there.

Sanjispride21 karma

Yep! I had to take a drug test as part of the application process.

rubbery_yoke56 karma

Does everyone use tinder? Any good stories?

Sanjispride94 karma

Im sure some people use tindr, and I think there was an article a while back about the first tindr date in Antarctica. I have never used it, so Im not sure if it can be used on computers (because there is no cell service down here).

felifae231 karma

You better have never used it!

Sanjispride167 karma

You are the only girl I need!

lurchman111 karma

Is your SO stalking you on reddit?

Sanjispride176 karma


ih8dolphins60 karma

So can she do a mini-AMA?

Sanjispride79 karma

If she so chooses! /u/felifae!

My_usrname_of_choice23 karma

You have WiFi don't you?

Sanjispride42 karma

They turn the wifi off during the summer when there are about 5 times as many people down here. During the winter they turn it on again.

CreateBread55 karma

What is your background in ? Do you hold any trades certs / degrees? How did you get into the job ?

Sanjispride72 karma

I have a bachelors in mechanical engineering, and experience with vibration/thermal testing, haha. It was sort of a stretch for me to get this job, but I think Ive caught the jist of maintaining furnaces and doing basic mechanical/electrical repairs. Im by no means an expert, but they dont expect me to be one.

CreateBread48 karma

Whats the pay?

Also who did you know to get that job haha.

Sanjispride82 karma

I get paid $775 per week, which wouldnt be a lot in the states, but I dont have to spend any of it on an apartment or food, so it all goes into savings.

I didnt know anybody! I just applied two years in a row and got the job!

ImLagging42 karma

Can you get me a job doing IT? I'll even stay over winter.

turndown4brunch1 karma


Sanjispride4 karma

Like much chances. They care about experience more than education.

Mutt122351 karma

So you're like the Jack Torrance of Antarctica? Ever seen anything creepy or unexplainable down there?

Sanjispride111 karma

Well, Im like the Jack Torrance of Antarctica, if the Shining took place during the peak season of the Overlook Hotel, haha. In Antarctica, the summer season goes from October to February, and thats when there can be around 1000 people here!

The creepiest thing Ive seen would have to be this ocean critter I got to hold in the Crary Science Lab!


gravitationalarray22 karma

What the heck is that??

Sanjispride50 karma

Some creepy sea bug!

CleverAndIronicName46 karma

Have you ever visited the pole, or on a broader note traveled to any of the other stations?

Sanjispride113 karma

I havent been to pole, but I was really lucky and I got to fly to the Italian base, Mario Zucchelli! I literally just went there for a mini-vacation.

Here is a picture! http://imgur.com/lvD9ImB

It is much much smaller than McMurdo Station.

littlebear_blackfoot43 karma

How often do you have to fix the ice cream dispenser?

Sanjispride46 karma

I havent had to fix it because the galley is not in my "zone." But I think one of them has been repaired once within the last season!

CanuckLoonie40 karma

A few questions for you:

  1. What's your favourite thing to have discovered about Antarctica? Least favourite thing?
  2. What SHOULD you have brought with you down there, but didn't?
  3. Male to female ratio?

Thanks in advance. :)

Sanjispride62 karma

  1. My favorite thing has to be the view from Hut Point on a clear day. You can see the trans-antarctic mountains and all the beautiful ranges. My least favorite thing is how DUSTY McMurdo can get! Its not all snow and ice like one would think. When that wind picks up and blasts your eyes with fine volcanic rock, its not fun!

  2. I should have brought a better pair of work pants! The ones I wear I got out of the community hand-me-down stuff we call "Skua." They are old and tattered.

  3. The M2F ratio is about 3-1 I think.

trashboy11 karma

What kind of work pants would you recommend for working down there?

Sanjispride19 karma

Well, I only brought jeans, but I end up caring a lot of stuff when I walk around station all day (hat, gloves, pager, sunglasses, safety glasses, small hand tools, notebook, etc) . I wish I brought a pair of really durable work pants with cargo pockets and a nice belt pouch to hold my tools.

Smgth34 karma

How cold IS a witch's tit and do you think it's colder there?

Also, how much do you feel your beard insulates your face at that level of cold?

Sanjispride45 karma

My beard isnt all that thick, haha, so it probably doesnt help me all that much. I plan on shaving it off when I get back home.

Because its summer time, and we are on the coast, it actually doesnt get that cold here. It has been above freezing a handful of times!

Right now its 25F, and very windy. Here is a breakdown of the yearly climate at McMurdo Station!


old_daniel_plainview33 karma

My buddy Brian is working down there now, he was a pilot in Tanzania previously which should help you identify him. Will you tell him hello for me & refer to him as the alchemist so he'll know who you're relaying the message for?

Sanjispride33 karma

If I meet him, Ill tell him you said hi!

old_daniel_plainview20 karma

You rock. Stay warm?

Sanjispride37 karma

Thats my job!

bmacnz30 karma

Have you found it difficult adjusting to the length of the days and the positioning of the sun? Ever feel disoriented knowing where you are on the planet?

Sanjispride44 karma

Not in the slightest. There is no disorientation to being at a different place on the planet, and the 24 hour sunlight doesnt bother me. Im sure it would if my dorm room happend to have windows, but thats just because I like to sleep in a really dark room, haha.

Uso-land29 karma

Have u seen any penguins? Do u have any pics?

Also can u make a post on 4chan.org/int/ so I can have the Antarctica flag?

Sanjispride44 karma

The only penguins I have seen were a group of Adeles that were waaaaay out on the sea ice. They were so small that they were only dots.

But the sea ice has broken up now, and I can finally see open ocean again, which means more penguins will (hopefully) start to show up!

AwesomelyHumble24 karma

  • Are you staying a whole year, or just the season?

  • How did you get the job?

  • Have you watched the Antarctica documentary [A Year On Ice](http://imdb.com/title/tt2361700/? If so, what did you think? If not, why the hell not, it's awesome?

  • Can I come join you if I promise to work and not complain? (kinda serious)

Sanjispride43 karma

(Fun fact, the old man in the photo has the exact same job I have now! I have filled out that form he is filling out!)

  • I havent seen it yet, because I wanted to come into the program blind and not have any expectations. I will definitely watch it when I get back to the States next month!

  • And of course you can join me! Just check out /r/antarctica and that link I posted and apply!

metabeliever24 karma

What's the insulation like on the buildings?

Sanjispride43 karma

Because this station is pretty old and used to be owned by the navy, some of the buildings do have asbestos insulation *cough

The rest of the occupied buildings have standard, non-hazardous insulation Im sure. Though I couldnt tell you the specifics.

metabeliever15 karma

Are the boilers/heating system insain to handle the cold? Are there any unusual elements to the heating system?

Sanjispride31 karma

We add propylene glycol to the water so the boiler systems dont freeze, and we extract waste heat from the power plant generators and circulate it through some of the buildings. Other than that, Im pretty sure the boiler and heating systems are fairly normal (if not fairly old.)

TrickeirHades23 karma

How many times has John Carpenter's "The Thing" been referenced so far, and are you sick of it yet?

Also, does anyone down there have a copy of "The Thing"?

Sanjispride15 karma

I hardly ever hear people mention "The Thing" haha. There is an entire library of DVD's and VHS's that one can rent from, and Im sure that they have multiple copies of the thing. But most people these days bring their laptops and portable hard drives filled with movies.

reindeerflot1lla22 karma

Hey man, appreciate the AMA. I've looked at applying for that very job a few years now and am interested in knowing what kind of experience you need to have and what the day-to-day issues are in the job.

There's also a smaller station nearby, ever get over there?

Do you plan to winter over?

What was the application process like? Was there a physical?

How's the pay?

Do you ever get to go further off-station than just hike trips? (ie, SPS)

Sanjispride41 karma

Keep on applying! Perseverance is the key to working down here.

Yes, Scott Base is just a few minutes down the road, and I have been there a couple of times for their "American Night" at the Tattered Flag pub, haha.

I will not be wintering over.

The application was just like any other application with a big company, and there is a physical, but that doesnt mean you have to be in extreme shape. There are plenty of... rotund... employees down here.

The pay is good because you dont have to spend most of it on your apartment or food or anything.

And yes you do get to go off station if you choose on what they call "morale trips." I was incredibly lucky and I got to visit the Italian station!

reindeerflot1lla11 karma

Thanks for the fast reply. Love having someone who will give the real skinny. I asked about SPS specifically I guess because I'd love to make it down there, but the jobs are mostly at McMurdo & it looks like a much more straightforward fit. Probably no way to get all the way down there & back on a morale trip though, huh?

Sanjispride12 karma

I know they used to do South Pole day trips, but I think they stopped them recently.

_Boonie_18 karma

Many polar bears?

Sanjispride67 karma

That's the wrong end of the earth!

PFloyd201117 karma

How many runners are there? Any good running trails?

Sanjispride19 karma

I frequently see people run. During the earlier part of the summer you can run on the sea ice all the way around Observation Hill and past Scott Base in a big loop!

Roach279115 karma

Ever drop a line in for some fish out there?

Sanjispride67 karma

I dont really fish all that much, but that would be extremely against the Antarctic Treaty, which prevents interaction or harming any of the local wildlife.

ModernMuseum14 karma

What's the uplift your company gives you (%), assuming you're some sort of ex pat?

Sanjispride16 karma

Since this is my first season, 16%.

mar10wright14 karma

I watched the documentary "A Year on Ice" the other day, totally fascinating. Do you stay through the winter? It seems like that us for the truly hardcore. Also are wages competitive down there? Surely the pay makes it work it.

Sanjispride21 karma

I will not be staying for the winter. I actually leave in less than two weeks, haha. Yeah Ive heard that wintering is a totally different animal.

The pay is competitive in the sense that while you are down here you arent paying for food, housing, gas, internet, and most other things you pay for at home. All there really is to spend on are the the bars and the gift shop!

Nuovale14 karma

How do you like the current happenings in One Piece right now? It seems that you're a Sanji fan so I'd assume you're a little excited.

Sanjispride19 karma

Im super excited about One Piece ALL THE TIME. I was worried I wouldnt be able to read it when I got down here, but now I know that the internet is strong enough to let me continue reading!

Im curious to see Sanji's family and I wouldnt be surprised if we get a glimpse of them within the next couple of chapters. And if Gin is ever going to reappear, this arc is the time.

linkoid0114 karma

Are there any staff employees that are not US citizens ? If yes, does the manning agency help in any way to get a US working VISA ?

Sanjispride16 karma

There are non US citizens down here, but since I am not one of them I do not know the process for getting a working VISA. I would email the USAP, and Im sure they could help. Plus your own country might have its on Antarctic research station that you could potentially deploy to!

sparky_beltbuckle11 karma

You guys need any Heavy Duty Mechanics down there?

Legacy60113 karma

Have you ever built an ultimate snow fort?

Sanjispride18 karma

If there was any snow, then I totally would! But right now its all DIRT and DUST outside :(

Legacy60113 karma

Dust fort?

Sanjispride22 karma


Peanut4513 karma

My husband wants to know if Derelict Junction is still guarded by a pair of pink plastic lawn flamingos?

Sanjispride15 karma

I think I saw one in the window of one of the smoking huts near by!

thebronzejohnson13 karma

What's the best and worst part of living down there?

Sanjispride22 karma

The best part is the free room and food! The worst part is the dust and the slow internet.

atomic_lobster11 karma

How long is a typical deployment down there? When you are not in Antarctica does Lockheed have you doing stuff in Centennial?

Sanjispride24 karma

Typical deployments are from October to February, with many people doing August to February.

And I am not an employee of Lockheed, but of PAE. There are some people who work full time and do live/work in Centennial, but I am only on a contract.

When my season is over I will be without a job! Anyone in LA or SF looking for a mechanical engineer with reliability testing and antarctic experience?

zebedir10 karma

You ever seen or heard anything creepy out there in the snow?

Sanjispride18 karma

Just the gurgles of Weddell seals on the sea ice!

zebedir9 karma

Cool, thanks for the reply. Follow up for you: most beautiful natural thing you've seen out there?

Sanjispride23 karma

Most beautiful natural thing would have to be these really cool underwater ice formations I saw while flying to the Italian station. They were like these ghostly ice whispers suspended under the water.

Perolito9 karma

Have you tried taking a piss outside while over there? if so, does it freeze in mid air?

Sanjispride13 karma

Haha, if I ever got caught doing that I would get in trouble. And here at McMurdo in the summer its not cold enough to freeze it mid air!

prjindigo9 karma

Is there anything at the station that does NOT have a heating strip on it and if so, why?

Sanjispride23 karma

There are plenty of cold storage buildings and even a frozen food warehouse. Surprisingly, there are indeed refrigeration mechanics that work down here!

SakuraStorm9 karma

Have you met any of the Kiwis at Scott Base? And are you planning/have you done the Lake Vanda challenge? (My Dad spent a summer building part of Scott Base - He has so many crazy fun stories!)

Sanjispride7 karma

I have met some Kiwis, and I have visited Scott Base before! I have never heard of the Lake Vanda challenge!

devilbones8 karma

What type of internet speeds are you guys getting?

Sanjispride12 karma

Here is a speedtest I just ran today!


bigboy7779997 karma

What is one thing you'll take away from being in Antarctica?

Any funny stories you'd like to share?

Sanjispride20 karma

One thing I will take away has to be the view from a rocky out cropping at the Italian base. You can see a far off ice cliff, beautiful blue water, pure white ice, and I felt such a calm in my soul that I will never forget.

King_Kross7 karma

Hmm how did you go about getting to Antarctica? Was there a process or did you just see an amazing opportunity.

Sanjispride14 karma

I heard about the possibility of working here from an earlier reddit ama (Ka is a wheel), and I started researching. I was a senior in college at the time, and the first job I took after graduation was with the intention of coming down here. I spent the next 2-ish years applying for antarctica jobs, and finally got an offer! Then they payed me to get my physical, and they flew me down to start working!


You into ham radio? If not, you should! It would be interesting to work DX from there.

Sanjispride7 karma

Well there is a normal radio station that anyone can sign up to DJ!

theSurgeonOfDeath6 karma

Do you see often Penguins? Can you nosebleed in Antarctica? Did you pay ferryman to get there?

Sanjispride9 karma

I have only seen little specs that were far away penguins, but Im hoping more will show up soon! Yes, and Yes.

Kirrawayru6 karma

I have a friend at the Australian base down there, do you interact much with the other bases down there?

Sanjispride9 karma

We interact with New Zealand's Scott Base all the time, because they are literally a couple minutes away, but on a day to day basis we dont interact with other nations stations very often. Im sure NSF officials do more frequently.

loves-reading3 karma

Is it true that you can't work there if you still have your wisdom teeth?

Sanjispride3 karma

Im pretty sure thats false. I dont have mine, so its never been an issue, but I think as long as they dont pose an immediate threat, then they will be ok.

elmonoenano3 karma

Who would be the TJ MacReady of the station if you had contact with a hostile alien. Have you seen the remake of The Thing and if so what did you think of Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a stand in for Kurt Russell?

Sanjispride5 karma

I did think it was interesting how they made the movie a prequel to the original instead of a total remake.

And there are so many people here with military experience, Id say that there would be a lot of MacReady's here!

Lord_Dio_Brando2 karma

Have you encountered any half man half animal hybrids or Mad Scientists will staying at the station? If so would you approve them for next nakama?

But in all seriousness, do you guys ever go out for snowball fights for some down time?

Sanjispride3 karma

You cant talk to me about One Piece when you have a Jojo username!

And if there was any snow right now, then people would!

gravitationalarray2 karma

Have you seen Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World? If so, what did you think of it?

And is that soft-serve ice cream machine still popular?

Sanjispride3 karma

I have heard of it, and I plan on watching it when I get home! They interview someone with my title so I am very interested in seeing it.

And yes, Frosty Boy is still very popular!

ReturnOfTheBurn2 karma

Have you ever heard the story about the guy that went crazy down there because 2 colleagues were bullying him and he ended up attacking them both with a ball-peen hammer?

Sanjispride3 karma

I thought it was a claw hammer. And thats why that underground movie festival called "Clam Hammer" came about.

I have heard of that incident though. Thats why they let you go home any time you want if you ask, no questions asked.

gunmetal012 karma

Ever find any polar bears?

Sanjispride3 karma

Wrong pole!

Reddicle322 karma

I haven't been able to read through the entire AMA, so forgive me if this is a repeat question.

Do you plan to stay through the winter?

Sanjispride2 karma

Thats ok!

And nope! I leave on Feb 10th!

tallpaulguitar0 karma

Is it true that marijuana is technically legal in Antarctica?

Sanjispride3 karma

People are allowed to smoke cigarettes here, and Im sure that some people smoke pot too, but this is a station run by the National Science Foundation which is part of the federal government. If you were caught smoking pot, Im sure you would get in trouble or be sent home.

Poplopkop-200 karma

Do you think Canada is the real reason 9-11 happened?

Sanjispride4 karma

I mean, Im pretty sure I saw a giant bottle of maple syrup hit the pentagon and not an airplane.