Bio: Network Engineer working at one of the three U.S. research stations located on the continent of Antarctica. My background includes 14 years U.S. Army w/ multiple tours to the Middle East, 3 years with the NSA during the time of Snowden, and a few years in corporate America. While those experiences were all special in their own ways, Antarctica has been the most unique experience of my life so far. After applying three years in a row (and passing a lengthy medical screening), I was finally blessed with the chance to deploy "on ice" and fulfill a lifelong dream of seeing the lonely continent.

Antarctica is the highest, driest, coldest, windiest, and darkest place on Earth. It is sometimes described as the closest humans can experience to living on another planet without actually doing it. It is breathtakingly beautiful at times and sometimes feels like being on another planet. I posted a few photos to Imgur and post regularly-ish to Instagram when I'm not feeling lazy.

The station's purpose is to support ongoing Antarctic scientific research. At this location alone there are ongoing projects studying marine and avian biology, atmospheric sampling, weather and storm systems, global warming, tidal patterns, and one of the three Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban detection stations located in the Southern hemisphere.

Our station is very small so most people have additional responsibilities outside their primary job. For my part, I'm assigned to the Glacier Search and Rescue, Trauma, and SCBA teams. Additionally, I spend a lot of time on "snow patrol" (shoveling snow), "GASH" (Galley and Scullery Help), and various other manual labor tasks around station.

Obvious disclaimer, everything here is my own personal opinion and does not in any way reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Antarctic Program, the ASC, the NSF, or good old Uncle Sam.


Proof: verification

2016-10-06 Edit: didn't really expect this to get so big. Hopefully I'm getting everyone's questions answered!

2016-10-07 Edit: I'm considering the AMA "officially" done, but I will still try to answer questions over the next few days as they trickle in. Thank-you everyone for your great questions and interest in Antarctica! I hope it inspires some of you to pursue work or research down here for yourselves.

Comments: 1331 • Responses: 94  • Date: 

ASCG5000373 karma

Have you ever watched The Thing? If so has it ever scared you about going to Antarctica?

vocatus1218 karma

Great documentary

defiancy36 karma

Hi S. We miss you at group!

vocatus56 karma

Hi person that I miss but don't know which one yet! I miss you guys a lot too

ASCG500023 karma

Lol, which version is your favorite?

vocatus228 karma

1984 1982, of course.

edit: I've shamed my family and my country

ColdIceZero79 karma

There was another AMA from an Antarctic research that said it was a base tradition to watch The Thing right after most people make their exodus for the winter, leaving the base minimally occupied.

valiantknight9326 karma

I've been in McMurdo for 2 1/2 months now and still haven't seen The Thing. shhhhhh!

vocatus29 karma

burn the witch

Shugoki334 karma

What is the strangest thing you have witnessed in Antarctica?

vocatus586 karma

Probably how fast the weather can change. One hour it will be crystal clear skies and no wind, and the next it's suddenly 60kn winds and crazy ice storms.

Loipopo227 karma

If i had to really really pee while away from base camp, what's the protocol?

vocatus415 karma

Everyone is required to pee in bottles carried with them, then bring it back to station for disposal.

bobbybouchier208 karma

Why not just piss on snow?

vocatus829 karma

Violation of the Antarctic treaty

SuperNinjaBot169 karma

What sense does that make to have put in a treaty?

vocatus635 karma

Antarctica is a specially protected area, set aside for scientific research, so the idea is to, as much as possible, not impact the environment in any way. That includes spreading human urine in places that it didn't previously exist.

birthmom122011 karma

Even the women have to pee in a bottle ?

vocatus9 karma


Motanum326 karma

Are penguins as cute and awesome as they seem to be?

vocatus432 karma


noxygen222 karma

Do their poop stink really is the worst smell in the world as I often heard that ?

vocatus327 karma

Absolutely, it's terrible.

sandmandan1357259 karma

Any pokemon there from the pokemon go app?

vocatus650 karma

Only a couple but they're literally just out of signal range which drives our lab manager crazy

deadfermata32 karma

which drives our lab manager crazy

/backs away slowly from that situation

vocatus34 karma

smart man

Wob_Wob188 karma

Any tips for people trying to get a position down there, even if only for a little while?

vocatus304 karma

Sure! I think outside of having a baseline of professional experience in your field, the #1 most important thing is persistence. I applied three years in a row before hearing anything, as did many of the people working down here. It's often just luck of the draw - there are very limited positions on "the ice" and a lot of people trying to get them. But people drop out all the time, or fail PQ (physical qualification), or don't pass their psych eval (winter-overs only), etc, so you just never know.

Most contracts are either Winter (5-7 months), Summer (3-4 months), and "Winfly" (~1 month, "winter fly-in") which is a big logistics operation to prepare South Pole Station for the next season.

ykpoi78 karma

What was your PQ test like?

vocatus148 karma

At least three urine tests, blood test, EKG, HIV/AIDS, a bunch of shots, TB skin test, vision test, dental exam, etc. Basically the full gamut to make sure you're 100% ready to go.

toomuchtodotoday33 karma

Is there a strong demand for IT/tech personnel for winfly duty? I've always wanted to work in Antarctica, but a 3-7 month tour is hard to swing with a wife and kid at home.

vocatus58 karma

/u/Julisan said no. You can't come just for winfly, because the contract is for the summer, and it just depends whether or not you come in early (winfly) or with the main body of summer personnel (after winfly). But there is no "only winfly" contract. Sorry :/

The good news is, there are married people down here who managed to work it out with their spouse to spend a single season down here.

Paradigm240148 karma

What's your opinion on Antarctic tourism? I've always wanted to see the "weirder" corners of the world and an Antarctica cruise is high up on my bucket list, but I'm not sure what the impact is on the pristine environment there.

vocatus275 karma

A lot of cruise ships visit the station during the summer months, but we didn't have any this winter season. Antarctic tourism is a little tricky I think. For one, it's great to let people see the continent, it's very beautiful and pristine, and a great experience, and can in some cases inspire people to start working or researching here. On the flip side, increased tourism always brings a bigger effect on the environment, in the form of altered wildlife behavior, trash, etc. Limited, careful tourism is probably fine, but as the industry gets larger it becomes more and more difficult to do it carefully. There's my rambling thoughts on that.

ccgarnaal48 karma

Have you had any cruisers as tourist. (Sailboats travelling the world) I know there are a few cruisers out there on well build aluminium sailing yachts. That occasionally sail in the arctic circles.

vocatus70 karma

We haven't this season, no, but our station manager who has spent a lot of seasons down here said they do come in every so often, though almost exclusively in the safer summer months.

Loipopo3 karma

I love it when people barf out their souls, when on a cruise for the first time in their lives.
Can you describe the last days of your journey to the whitelands?

vocatus22 karma

I haven't actually been on one of the tourism cruises, but the first time I saw Antarctica in the daylight took my breath away. It looked fake, like something out of a movie.

011001000110001095 karma

HI /u/vocatus! How much has your development of /r/TronScript been impacted while you've been there? You still seem to post fairly regular updates. Thank you for all your hard work on it by the way! I love it and use it regularly!!

vocatus97 karma

Hi /u/0110010001100010, thanks for the message!

It's been more challenging for sure, especially with the limited bandwidth, but I've been fortunate enough to be able to keep up development of it during some of my free time. Glad it's useful for you!

ranhalt41 karma

here b/c as soon as I saw the title, I knew it was the tron guy

vocatus33 karma

*waves hello

jihahahahad92 karma

Can you send and receive actual mail? I find the idea of a letter being able to make it all the way there rather cool

vocatus166 karma

McMurdo station and South Pole station have intermittent official mail service, but our station does not. The closest thing we have is people can send small packages or letters to the ASC headquarters in Denver, CO, and a staff member will hand-carry it down on the next resupply ship. Our station has no air service.

bonk3rs134 karma

Hm, so no prime now. Sad.

vocatus274 karma

We're still on the "Amazon 18th century mail service" plan.

Unbathed92 karma

Sometimes adversity makes us stronger, sometimes the struggle makes us weaker. Does an Antarctic tour increase most people's fitness?

vocatus171 karma

It seems to just exacerbate whatever people's original fitness was. So people who don't really work out tend to gain a lot of weight over the season (long periods of darkness, alcohol, and surprisingly good food contribute to this), while people who are generally fit end up making time to work out in spite of the environment.

ivan92723 karma

What was your best meal there?

vocatus65 karma

Probably lobster tail. Our chef is incredible.

PEEnKEELE15 karma

Lisa is great, she was awesome to meet at McM even if for just a short time.

vocatus19 karma

I am still in love with her.

Snowbank_Lake68 karma

I got to spend 3 weeks in Greenland as part of my grad school research. Always appreciate hearing about other people spending time in the icy areas of the world! Have you had any fun/interesting experiences with the animals down there?

vocatus116 karma

I have! Seals and sea lions regularly come up and lay around station. Sometimes they get in the way of cargo ops, but for the most part they're fun to see. Lots of penguins around too, they're always hilarious to watch.

Nomadlads33 karma

Do penguins come up to people or are they shy?

vocatus65 karma

They generally don't come up to us because they're mostly on the nearby islands, but they aren't too shy if we're in the same area.

Anonymousopotamus11 karma

Have you seen any bears or foxes?

vocatus40 karma

None. Polar bears are only in the Arctic (north) and not Antarctic (south). Lots of whales though.

BorisBukowsky10 karma

Please share a funny penguin incident

vocatus18 karma

One time I saw one slip and fall into the water while it was trying to hop from rock to rock. Made me laugh.

dodgetimes266 karma

What's the female situation like down there? People getting busy or what?

vocatus105 karma

There tend to be less females than males, though that fluctuates heavily depending on what science groups are here. For example, marine biology seems to have a higher concentration of female scientists than, say, atmospheric research. As far as hooking up, people are people, and it happens here about as much as anywhere else I suppose.

dodgetimes230 karma

Thanks for answering. On a completely unrelated note is watching the movie The Thing frowned upon down there?

vocatus81 karma

Not only is it not frowned upon, it's encouraged. I think we've already watched it three times this season.

ShadowSt65 karma

It is my dream to get the opportunity to work in Antarctica at some point in my life. I am studying for a degree as a Network Engineer but with a focus on security. Been working on systems for 10 years now so I got some experience, just need the degree to back me up. Any recommendations on what a recruiter might be looking for? I'm under the impression that working in Antarctica is a temp job, am I wrong?

vocatus109 karma

Hi /u/ShadowSt, thanks for the question. You're on the right track - my background is Systems Administration and my bachelors was a BAS in "Cyber Security." I think anything you can do to gain wide experience on different networking and systems equipment is valuable. There's quite the odd conglomeration of IT equipment down here, so wide experience is very useful. Just keep at it, and I'd say you could even start applying now, you never know when a position will open up.

Antarctica is technically a temp job, yes. That being said, many people return year after year because rehiring preference is often given to people who have already been to the ice, since they know the systems and environment and are already "in the system," so to speak. The Summer network engineer at our station is on his 11th year down here, I believe. Having zero expenses allows you to save up quite a bit of money and "float" between seasons (or travel, if that's your thing).

ShadowSt20 karma

I actually know someone who went to Antarctica, not sure if it was a tourism thing or worked there. His desk is two down from mine has pictures of his time on a boat. Where do you apply at? I'd love to look more into it.

I'm also working on a BAS in Cyber Security.

vocatus39 karma

Google "Leidos ASC contract" and go from there, they're who handles all ASC contract positions. Good luck!

ArabianDisco49 karma

Have you met Dawson yet? He's a buddy of mine who is currently over there too.

vocatus48 karma

I haven't met anyone named Dawson, sorry!

vocatus80 karma

...can't believe that went right over my head.

gingerbreadfuck31 karma

Tell Laura she's a beautiful stellar sea cow

vocatus38 karma


cycle247 karma

1) Have you got a mixed bag of vendor networking equipment, or do you tend to stick to one (Cisco, Fortinet, Juniper, PA?)? Any special customizations that have to be made given the environment you work in?

2) Can you explain the networking setup there? Are you given your own IPv4 block, or just have a couple addresses with heavy use of NAT'ing? More specifically: what sort of connection to the outside world do you have?

vocatus56 karma

I can't go too in to depth due to info sec and all that, but we have a wide smattering of equipment. Lots of Cisco, some Riverbed SteelHead WAN optimizer stuff (heavy QoS on the satellite link), etc. Our connection out is a 3 Mb/s satellite link with backup Iridium satellite phones (in case of outage). The U.S. Antarctic program has it's own IPv4 block, I think you can look it up in IANA. No NAT to speak of for the most part, except in a few special circumstances. I just finished IOS upgrades on the station edge routers recently and that is always a nerve-wracking experience :)

cycle212 karma

Cool. I'd imagine that you must be using TDRS (and maybe something from Iridium?) and have a certain schedule for when you can do things...such as this IAMA. Assuming this is true, I'd be curious to know how you plan for these windows, or any related horror stories.

edit: Looks like I might be right:

vocatus20 karma

Our station is north enough that we actually have constant LOS to our bird (barely). We do get solar outages (had three this week actually) but for the most part our connection is stable.

South Pole is a different story entirely, they have revolving windows of availability vs. blackout.

McLovin88241 karma

Did your time in the Army/NSA prepare you for the job you are doing now? What experiences from them do you feel assist you most in what you are doing now?

vocatus87 karma

They did somewhat. While Antarctica is much different from those places, I felt the Army in particular helped because of some similarities between them. Things like long periods away from home, exposure to a harsh environment, having to live in tight spaces with people you may or may not like for extended periods, and little separation between personal and professional life.

Loipopo39 karma

How's the internet? What is the ping at

vocatus77 karma

Ping is a constant 500-700ms RTT, like any satellite connection. Internet is pretty slow, 3Mb/s shared among the whole station.

Capnbaldy38 karma

What is your favorite thing to snuggle when you get cold?

vocatus122 karma

A cute girl!

Or my cat, but he is a long, long, long ways away from here..

Orcwin74 karma

You seem to imply that the cute girls are not.

vocatus240 karma


defiancy8 karma

Thomas misses you I am sure!

vocatus13 karma

poor little guy

ignite-me37 karma

Have you ever experienced a very dangerous situation where you thought "that's it, I might die today"?

vocatus94 karma

Nothing near-death, although I was a little nervous a few times on the glacier with the snowmobiles. They can be dodgy in some conditions and I nearly rolled one in a disguised drop-off my first time out.

The only other time was when myself and another GSAR team member had to rope off and go outside the flag line, which is a series of marker flags indicating the edge of the "known safe" area of the glacier. We had to extend the flag line to make a hasty airstrip to support an emergency medical evacuation from the South Pole, so we roped off and I went first, probing for hidden crevasses with my ice axe.

FreeSoul78963 karma

I went first, probing for hidden crevasses with my ice axe.

That sentence made me very anxious. Have you ever found a hidden crevasse using that method?

vocatus56 karma

Not yet, fortunately!

thedukeofdukes28 karma

Whats the best advice you can give to someone if they find themselves trapped down a glacial crevasse?

vocatus85 karma

If they don't have rope or crampons and there's absolutely no way out, stay put, try to stay warm, and wait for rescue.

On our station people have to sign out with destination, start and return times when going out to the glaciers, and if they miss radio check-in we'll first attempt to find them on station (people often forget to check back in), then deploy the GSAR team to find them.

kryssiecat26 karma

Is it true you can't work there if you haven't had your appendix and wisdom teeth removed?

vocatus39 karma

I believe that's only for South Pole and only for winter-overs, but last I heard they may have waived the requirement.

AStrangerWCandy65 karma

Hey there :) Just saw this and thought I'd do a drive by post since I'm the South Pole network engineer. We do NOT need our appendix out or our wisdom teeth removed as long as they are healthy.

vocatus21 karma

Finally, an authoritative answer!

Mafiya_chlenom_K25 karma

Current temperature in kelvin? 296.48K here.

vocatus43 karma

273.15K. Winter is ending and Summer is starting so it's been getting much warmer lately.

bobbybouchier15 karma

Does it snow year round?

vocatus22 karma

Pretty much, yeah.

idiot90023 karma

Have you ever kicked a penguin?

vocatus25 karma

Ha ha, can't say that I have.

Loipopo9 karma

What are the official/working guidelines regarding animal interaction?

vocatus63 karma

The Antarctic treaty governs most of our actions down here, but in general the rule of thumb is "if the animal is reacting to your presence, you're too close."

bigredfred21 karma

What's the work structure like? Do you have a traditional manager, meetings etc?

vocatus32 karma

It varies hugely by position and station. Since ours is pretty small it's just myself, the sys admin, and the satcom engineer, and we report directly to our boss in Denver.

bigbupkis20 karma

I've heard there are non technical jobs one can get in the research communities in Antartica, is this true? If so, how does one go about applying to them.

vocatus55 karma

Absolutely. Think of everything you'd need to make a small city or town run, and that position probably exists down here. Waste management, electricians, carpenters, chefs, general assistants, painters, mechanics, etc. The general trades are in heavy demand.

Google "Leidos ASC contract" and go from there, they're the ones who handle all Antarctic support jobs.

Loipopo30 karma


vocatus63 karma

Buildings need paint :)

ILoveToEatLobster19 karma

Fellow network engineer! What kind of stuff do you find yourself doing? At such a small and secluded place I can't imagine there's a lot of networking stuff to be done.

vocatus42 karma

You'd be surprised, actually! Due to the large amount of specialized scientific equipment, I spend time doing firewall rules, VLAN configs, traffic shaping tweaks, etc. And when I'm not doing that, I'm also a general "help desk / manual labor" person.

bobbybouchier18 karma

Did you like working for the NSA? Were you an officer or enlisted in the Army?

vocatus73 karma

I'm a Chief Warrant Officer with the Army (still in the Reserves at the moment).

I enjoyed a lot of aspects of working with the NSA, particularly being around very smart and talented people, and getting to work on some very interesting projects from a technical standpoint. Also had fantastic benefits and vacation policy. Unfortunately I didn't really agree with a lot of what they were/are doing from an ethical and personal conviction standpoint, and while there's not much I could do to change it, I knew I at least didn't want my life work contributing to it, so I left to pursue opportunities elsewhere. I don't regret the time there but don't think I'd ever go back.

Malak7778 karma

And now you are "snowed-din" ;-)

vocatus50 karma

Oh, you

zulu-bunsen17 karma

Do you get a feeling of statelessness down there? Or does it still feel like the US?

vocatus29 karma

I do sometimes, yeah. It's a surreal place in a lot of ways, not the least because you're so far from real civilization and Antarctica technically isn't anything (e.g. not a country, state, territory or province).

Presidents10116 karma

What was your MOS?

vocatus26 karma

255A Information Services Technician, CW3. I'm still in the Active Reserve currently.

smellypants15 karma

Just curious--I'm a network engineer as well, but what type of industry certifications do you have?

vocatus20 karma

CISSP, CCNA, and A/N/Security+. I also have a current TS/SCI w/ full scope poly, but that will be expiring soon as I'm no longer in a position that requires it.

smellypants8 karma

Cool, thanks! What was the requirements for the position? I've seen random postings for positions in Antarctica, and I find it intriguing.

vocatus10 karma

Hard to say, just gotta go look at the Leidos listings yourself! Google "Leidos ASC jobs"

mdr-fqr8714 karma

How are the tinder matches down there?

vocatus17 karma

Pretty sparse :)

limits66013 karma

How many people have you murdered?

vocatus72 karma

I'll PM you

UpBoat42013 karma

How do I concatenate two strings in perl?

vocatus38 karma

Sell one pearl and use the money to buy a second string.

PloppingSmock12 karma

Have any interesting stories of rescuing people? How often do have to rescue someone?

vocatus25 karma

It depends what science groups are on station and how often they're out either on the glaciers or on the water, boating to the different islands. I've only personally "rescued" one group from the glacier, when they got caught in a sudden ice storm that was a complete white-out. I think there's a picture of us returning to station on the snowmobile in the album I linked in the original post.

Psentinel12 karma

Hello I have a question about climate change.

I don't know if anything there is readily apparent where you work, but - What do you think about the planets average co2 levels raising above 400 ppm? I wonder if there is some insight to be gained from that area or from that line of work that maybe the general populous would overlook. Do you think that the human story is ending?

vocatus49 karma

I'll confess I don't have too much in-depth knowledge on climate change, though I do spend a lot of time around people who do. Just anecdotally I can say the glacier behind our station is retreating very fast, a visually noticeable few feet per year. As the ice sheet recedes, it uncovers various islands that we didn't know were there, which is a bittersweet bonus to it melting.

I tend to be an optimist and so no, I don't think the human story is ending, we still have a long way to go, and the future is very hard to predict.

BinanoSplat9 karma

How does a person get to Antarctica without having some scientific or military reason? Are there boats that regular Joes can hop aboard?

vocatus23 karma

It's tricky (and expensive), but in general your options are

a. Catch a ride on one of the tourist cruise ships. Prices range from $5,000 at the absolute low end to $25k and up on the higher end. Downside: You're with a giant mass of people and you won't get to spend much time on the ice.

b. Private yacht or cruise ($$$$$)

c. Sightseeing flight ($$)

d. Come down as a scientist or contract worker

i7988 karma

Whats life like out there? Do you enjoy it?

vocatus47 karma

Pretty varied, honestly. I spend about 40-60% of my time doing IT work, and the rest of it doing all sorts of other things. Trauma team, firefighting team, search and rescue team, shoveling snow, helping with food and science cargo offload when the ship is docked, etc. And I love it!

Personally, I'm training for the Ironman triathlon during my free time here, as a way to pass the hours during the slower months.

aidinfrost8 karma

First AMA I'm very interested in! I was a network engineer but my resume in that field isn't nearly as impressive as yours. However, As a fellow vet that is a 11 year firefighter (between military and civilian), medic, and more, I would LOVE to come out and be a part of the team you're on. I do still have enough knowledge to function as an engineer but I'd be much stronger on the fire rescue side. How do you get into something like this? How long are your tours? I'm still in the military as a reservist, would it be better to try and go on operation deep freeze, or as a civilian?

vocatus6 karma

Hi /u/aidinfrost, good to meet you!

OK, so I think the #1 thing in coming down here is persistence in applying. I applied 3 years in row before hearing anything, and a lot of times it depends on the luck of the draw. So keep at it, I think you're more than qualified to work down here.

Your military and firefighting experience is very valuable. You couldn't be a full-time firefighter at this station because it's so small there's no dedicated fire personnel, only people assigned to the SCBA brigade, but you could be full time fire at McMurdo (the largest U.S. station).

Summer contracts are generally around 3-4 months, winterovers are generally 5-8 months, and Winfly ("winter fly-in," major logistics operation delivering cargo in preparation for the season) is about 1 month.

I am still military (Army Reserve), and got a special waiver to come down here. Unless you're part of the Air National Guard I don't think there's really any way to come down here in a military capacity - most of the military is gone and the only ones left are generally those flying the cargo aircraft to South Pole and McMurdo.

To get started, Google "Leidos Antarctica jobs." They handle all the contract work for the U.S. Antarctic program.

Good luck!

Handy__Man7 karma

Is the cold in Antarctica hard to adapt to?

vocatus31 karma

For me it definitely was. I live in Phoenix, AZ in the states where it's routinely 115 F, so coming to a place with a nearly 200 degree difference in temperature was a big adjustment.

Kimusubi15 karma

Are you the most extreme version of snow bird? (I love in Phoenix as well)

vocatus14 karma

Never thought about it, but now that you put it that way, I suppose I am ha ha. I can't wait to get back home and feel the awesome Phoenix winter air. I love the city and the state so much.

LateralThinkerer7 karma

I've heard that you go the first time for the adventure, the second time for the pay -- and after that because there's noplace else for you other than there. Do you think there's anything to that?

Also - quite the party crowd, or so I hear.

vocatus7 karma

/u/Julisan answered pretty well. This is only my first season but it seems to be a pretty good rule of thumb.

2ndzero7 karma

What's the protocol in case of medical emergency (heart attack, stroke)?

vocatus10 karma

Call the trauma team, get them to the doc, and see what he says. If they have to be evacuated, the absolute fastest the ship can get here is about 4 days. We're pretty far from help so everyone has to be pretty self-sufficient.

Zan_H6 karma

What is the hardest part of being away from America for extended period of time?

vocatus12 karma

I'm sure it's different for a lot of people, but for me it's missing family and friends back home. I love, love, love being here, but always miss them and after many months you start to feel it.

Parco443 karma

How can I learn how to filter layer 4 and layer 7 reflective attacks against a server that has every port open?

vocatus8 karma

I'll let you in on one my engineering secrets, as long as you promise not to tell anyone else. It's this little-known website called, it has some great answers sometimes.

Houston833 karma

What is a good way to go about finding a job in Antarctica?

vocatus4 karma

Google "leidos ASC contract" and go from there. Leidos is who handles all the Antarctic support jobs.

ddvvee2 karma

What's the down time like? Also how well does the team get along?

Also are you supplied your personal equipment / clothing or is it issued?

vocatus4 karma

Down time, assuming nothing is going wrong on station (e.g. no emergencies) is pretty open. You can go to the bar, play board games, read, play computer/video games, watch movies in the lounge, hang out in the hot tub or sauna, etc. Weekends you can go up the glacier or go out in the Zodiacs to the nearby islands, weather permitting.

ECW gear ("extreme cold weather") is issued upon arrival, although everyone brings personal gear as well.

The team has gotten along pretty well this season. Of course it always depends on personalities and how well they mesh, and you'll always have one or two people who aren't as easy to get along with, but for the most part it's gone pretty well.

dwarftosser772 karma

Is the bowling alley at McMurdo Station still in use down there?

vocatus3 karma

I'm not sure, I've never been to McMurdo.

paulornothing2 karma

I know glaciers need saving, but do we really need to search for them? Don't we already know where they are?

vocatus2 karma

They're pretty clumsy and frequently get lost

ytrof2 karma

What is your adult beverage of choice in the Antarctica?

vocatus6 karma

Probably wine. We don't have too many quality beers (e.g. craft beers) and wine is nice to sip on while relaxing in the hot tub.

ToTo28_a1 karma

Hey ! Here is my question : can you find me a job here ? :-)

vocatus4 karma

Ha ha, sorry can't do that, but you can find one yourself!

mxtrav1 karma

What's the networking situation that you are working with? How many sites/offices are there and are they all connected?

vocatus3 karma

I can't go super into detail because of info sec etc, but all the U.S. stations talk back to Denver headquarters (sort of our "mission control") via various satellite shots. There's no fiber to the continent.

El_Mucho_Danko1 karma

How is the wifi?

vocatus2 karma

Fantastic. Of course I'm the one responsible for it so I may be a bit biased

NeverEnufWTF1 karma

Given that it's Antarctica, couldn't they just have called it "Search and Rescue"?

vocatus3 karma

Well, there's also an OSAR team (Ocean Search and Rescue).