Antarctica: A Year on Ice (2013) Movie Script

My name is Anthony Powell.
I grew up on this dairy farm
in Taranaki, New Zealand.
But I've actually spent most
of my adult life living
and working in Antarctica.
The most common question
I get asked is
"What's it like to live
down there?"
It's so hard to answer
that in words
and it's never really been
captured on film before.
But there's something about
time lapse photography
that brings to life
the dynamic forces of nature
that you can feel
and sense around you,
but you can't actually see.
So I've taught myself how
to use a variety of cameras
and built some homemade
equipment in my spare time
that can still function
in the extreme cold.
It's taken me more than
10 years to make this film.
I've worn out
thousands of dollars
worth of camera gear...
and spent countless hours
standing in the freezing cold
in an effort to capture
the true feeling of this vast
important place.
There really are only
two seasons in Antarctica:
A busy summer when most
of the science happens...
and a wild and lonely winter
that few people will
ever experience.
To understand the place properly
you really need to spend
one full year
down here on the ice.
I think that most people
think that we're all scientists.
There are real people down here.
It's not just the people you see
on the National Geographic
or it's not people
who can afford
a $10.000 cruise.
It's people who are just
like you and me
who are average citizens
who are working and doing a job
That first breath...
it's like a sledgehammer
to the face.
It's your wake up call.
It's okay, you're here now.
This is the real deal.
I couldn't believe
I was actually doing it.
I was actually here.
I was in Antarctica...
the bottom of the planet.
And then my second thought was
"Oh crap,
what have I just done?"
Why am I here?
I saw Erebus
and wanted to go hiking there
and snowboard down it
and I was quickly told "No"
and then I was off to work.
We had been thinking
oh we're going to Antarctica
and when you get here it's like,
oh yeah I've gotta work
And you don't put that
into your head your first time
you're so excited
about coming down
that you forget that you're
coming down here for a reason.
They hurried us off the plane
so we couldn't take
a look around
and pretty much it was just here
and the next thing we knew
we were in town.
So the first thing we really saw
of Antarctica was McMurdo
and that's always kind of
disappointing sometimes.
It's a pretty small,
tight community
People pull together
and get things done.
Pretty amazing what gets done
for what little we have.
I've seen a lot of different
personalities come down here.
The ones that seem to do
the most of it are
the die-hards or
the more grounded people.
McMurdo Station sits
beside the sea on Ross Island.
It's dwarfed by Mt. Erebus
the southernmost
active volcano in the world.
Three kilometers away on
the other side of the peninsula
is the small New Zealand outpost
Scott Base.
Scott Base is a lot
more typical in size
of the other bases
dotted around Antarctica.
And its proximity
to McMurdo is unusual.
There are only
30 permanently manned bases
on the entire continent
and most of these
have less than 20 people
living in them in the winter.
At Scott Base you have to
live and work in one building.
Our accommodation
is a very small room
It's like a cell, if you like,
or a cupboard.
A lot of things here
can get to you pretty quickly
especially in winter.
And you cannot change them.
You cannot argue much
about them either
because this person
will be in front of your eyes,
you know, on the next Smoko.
So to be tolerant
is very important.
When people ask me why
to come back because this
is the second time
I've arrived in Antarctica.
For me it's those
white mountains.
Those white mountains
and you look across and you know
just because
humanity had trouble
getting here in the first place
we're relatively new arrivals.
We have not had the opportunity
to mess it up very much yet.
We have nations getting along
better in Antarctica
than I think they're doing
anywhere else in the world.
It's worth something
to keep it this way
if we can do whatever we can
to keep the co-operations
and just the pure pursuit
of things
that make us better as humans.
That's happening right now
on this continent,
and it's special.
I could live indefinitely here
if I could, on occasion,
get out.
Like I haven't...
I've literally gone nowhere
since August.
Most people that have
been here that long
at least have gone to maybe
the Pole or something...
or at least gotten out of town.
You will get to see
some fun stuff
but the main thing you're
down here for is to work.
And I hate to sound cold
when it comes to that,
but I think a lot of people
lose that focus
and when they come down here
and all they get to see
is a dish room
or get to stare at
a computer the whole time
I think they might be
a little disillusioned.
I came down with
the Italians originally.
But having done it once
you know I sort of thought
well that'll do.
But a couple of years later
I was back again.
Still here.
Rob has been flying
in Antarctica for 20 years,
but he's never done
a winter here.
Helicopters only fly
in the summer.
It's probably safer flying here
than in New Zealand
because you never have
to contend with the weather.
At home there's various
degrees of weather.
Here it's either good
or it's not.
Whereas home, it might be okay
or just okay
or I think I can make it.
But there's none of that here.
So, what would be
your favorite place to fly to?
No, I like the Dry Valleys.
I like the Upper Wright
and the Beacon Valley as well.
It's spectacular scenery,
it really is.
Like Rob, I'm one
of the lucky ones.
The work I do in Antarctica
allows me to get out
and experience
some of the grandeur
and vast emptiness
of this amazing continent.
Wherever there is research
happening in the field
they need their
communications support.
So I spend a lot of time
setting up radio equipment
in remote locations.
When I first came down
here in 1998,
I was struck by how
pure and untouched it was.
There's still places here
where no human
has ever set foot.
I just love
that there's still places
in the world you can go
to experience absolute silence.
When you're out here
and there's no wind
your ears are just
straining to hear something...
You just don't realize
how much noise
pollution there is
in your daily life
back in the real world.
One very important
thing when you're...
working in the deep field is...
to make sure never
to confuse your pee bottle
with your water bottle.
the summit of Erebus
and an ice fumarole
that's growing
from steam coming out
of one of the cracks here.
Most days
I can't believe I get
to work in this place.
But there are days when I think
they just can't pay me enough.
God, this is an awful place.
In theory there should be
a flag right about there.
Ah yeah, there we go.
Gotta love GPSs.
It's the middle of summer
and if we check the time
it's ah...
just after 12 o'clock.
That's 12 o'clock
midnight though.
Merry Christmas!
Ah, Christmas dinner...
making food
for lots and lots of people.
It's a big day.
We're spreading holiday cheer.
I think for a lot
of younger folks that come down
it's a real good
experience for them.
It's probably not a career
for most people,
but for some...
it is.
I think I found it
and kind of fell in love
with it.
I have been coming to Antarctica
for about 13 years now.
And when I came down
the first time
I thought, "Ah yeah
this will be great to do once."
You know, just come
to Antarctica.
And then I can say,
"Wow, I went to Antarctica."
And then I signed on
for a contract
the following year
and then...
I don't know what happened.
I'm still here.
There's a saying among
the women of Antarctica
"The odds are good.
But the goods, are odd."
Christine and I met down here
and I proposed to her
in the winter of 2003.
6 weeks later
we had an impromptu wedding
down here on the ice.
The flowers were all hand made
with folded paper.
Christine's friend Lori
made up a dress
from donated fabric.
And the plumbers cut
us some rings
made of brass.
I borrowed the only
dinner jacket on base
from Eric, the station manager
who then acted as our celebrant.
On this night here
on Ross Island,
Christine Marie Gamble
and Anthony Brendan Powell
are celebrating their love
and commitment to each other.
And tonight they will join
as husband and wife
in heart, body and soul.
Hi, Dad!
Just fine. Go ahead.
I'm here.
Thank you.
I've wintered over here
nine times now
and Christine has
wintered eight times
Living on the ice
is just something
that's become so ingrained
in both of us.
The TV version of penguins
doesn't prepare you
for the reality
of seeing an actual
penguin colony.
There are thousands
of frozen penguin corpses
that litter the ground.
And in summer the sewer stench
from 100.000 penguins
can be pretty unbearable.
Ten... nine... eight...
Seven... Six...
Five... Four...
Three... Two... One...
Happy New Year, McMurdo!
I like this place
for a lot of reasons
Part of me feels
like living at McMurdo
is like living
in Never-never Land.
There's a lot of people
they have gone in a very
different path in their lives.
And sometimes one of the things
I like the best
is being able to live a life
with people who are
willing to take
a slightly different path
different path in life.
And so for the first time
in my life
I'm part of a majority because
a lot of us feel that way.
And I've never been part
of the majority before.
We're in this...
we're in a box.
And there's no escape
from each other.
You can't get away.
You're forced to interact
day in and day out.
And you get to know people
very, very quickly.
Whether those
relationships be good or bad
they're going to be very,
very intense.
That was awesome!
Okay, stand by
for contact again.
McMurdo Sound is as far south
as it is possible to bring
a ship in the world.
And the arrival
of the supply ship
marks the last gasp
of summer here.
Once the ship has been offloaded
it's immediately reloaded
with all the rubbish,
recycling, human waste,
and science-related cargo
from the last year.
Nothing is left behind.
At the end of February,
the sun starts to briefly
dip back below the horizon.
And those of us
who will be wintering over
begin to seek each other out.
But most people are
thinking about heading home.
Have you ever been tempted
to hang around for the winter?
When the last plane leaves
that's it.
You're stuck here
for the next 6 months.
No way out.
I remember thinking
what the hell did I do?
I should be on that plane.
God help us!
Once it's gone,
and the last sound of it
has disappeared,
it's like the whole town
just breathes a huge sigh.
Okay, here we are.
You look around at the people
and you say,
"Okay, you're my friends...
you're my family
for the next 6 months."
My first season
was in the winter
and I do recall watching
that last plane leaving
and thinking
boy I hope this is
what I want to do.
Attention all stations.
Stand by for a severe
weather condition announcement.
McMurdo weather has set
severe weather condition 2
for the following locations
McMurdo Station,
T-Site, Arrival Heights,
The Road to Scott Base,
Pegasus Field and road
to Pegasus Field.
All other locations
remain Condition 3.
If there's any questions
please contact McMurdo Weather
at extension 2523-2524.
Some people take
the winters here very well
and there's others
that come down
that just don't do well
with winter.
You know there's not enough
going on for them.
There's not enough
social life for them.
It's actually, I think
a pretty definite line
between winter people
and non-winter people.
I mean, it's usually
fairly obvious.
One of my main jobs
during the winter
is to maintain communications
with the outside world
This means regular trips
out across the ice shelf
to the satellite station
on Black Island.
During the summer,
it's only a 10-minute
helicopter flight away.
But during the winter
it means getting in a vehicle,
like a Pisten Bully
and driving there.
When conditions are good
it's about a six-hour drive.
But in recent years
the ice shelf has been having
a lot of trouble
with surface melt.
So sometimes
we've been literally
crawling in and out of holes
taller than the vehicles
trying to find a way
to get there.
Hmm, now what?
Get around that
Hey Bill, can you see any
way through?
Yeah, should be all right.
Black Island is
one of the windiest places
on the planet.
It's so windy that peak winds
have never been
accurately measured
because of the wind gauges
getting blown away.
Current wind speed
is 114 miles per hour
or 99 knots...
Make that 123 miles an hour.
Although the camera
is on the tripod,
you can see the picture
is actually quite shaky.
That's because
the whole building
is being shaken
by the 100-knot winds
we've got at the moment.
Just go for a walk out into
the main satellite dome here
and show you what it looks like.
As you can see,
it's a wee bit windy.
I'll just show you
what it's like
in the bunkhouse here
after the last storm.
All the snow you can see
in the corner of the room here
basically worked its way in
through the tiny gaps
in the window seals.
The wind speeds got up
to 222 miles an hour
so this filled up in just
a matter of a few hours.
And there's
a complete lounge suite
in the corner over there.
This is the fireplace
that's normally used for
keeping the room warm.
In the middle of March,
there's that magical
brief couple of weeks
when the sun is rising
and setting
like normal days
and you can actually
leave the curtains open
on your window at night
to be woken up
by the sunrise in the morning.
We were out and the wind came up
and there was just moments
that it was so cold
I could really
actually feel the danger in it
and feel the...
this crazy like mind thing
that happened that was like...
it was hard to focus on anything
except just getting out
of the conditions we were in
and trying
to just be warm again.
It was really hard
to still focus on
gathering all of the gear
and trying
to do what needed to be done
rather that just run
for whatever vehicle
or, you know, it was...
it was amazing how
your instinct...
it just...
it just snaps.
The first time where
I was just ridiculously cold
was actually with you
just a few days ago
taking the shift photo
up on the hill.
Oh yeah.
The wind was whipping
through there.
I'd probably say it was
negative 80 with wind chill.
And I remember
looking over at Chris Cavanaugh
and tears were streaming
down his face.
He didn't even know it
because it was so cold
and the thing that surprised me
is when he looked
at me a second time
those tears had frozen
to his face.
So that's...
that made an impression on me.
Maybe it's time to get inside.
We're about 30 K's away
from the nearest seawater here
and it's still quite common
to find guys like this.
It's a mummified seal
that's lost its way
and wandered inland.
It's an amazingly
common occurrence.
It's heartbreaking when you see
animals in distress like this
because we're not allowed
to interfere
We just have to let nature
take its course.
It can be really hard
just being away from home
and hearing stories.
My sister just had a baby boy
a week ago.
And that day was...
really bittersweet.
It was really cool,
but man I wanted nothing
more than
to get the hell out of here
just for a day.
Go home and enjoy that moment
with my family
because they were all together
and then I was down here,
you know,
shooting emails out all day
and then on the phone
a couple times
and that was really really hard.
So for me,
what sucks is definitely
missing family,
but more importantly
missing these big moments
with them,
you know,
my family's lives back home.
Well, I mean, first of all,
I had my concerns.
And this is what I do
always in my life
that if I'm ever feeling low
I have things around
just in case.
One of the things is I brought
a lot of photos of my family
so I have them taped
to my fridge.
And then I just know
that there's always
people on my side
even if it seems like the walls
are closing in down here.
It was just like any other day
and the phone rang.
It was my grandmother
and immediately
my heart sunk because
I knew something was wrong.
And she told me that
my father had passed away
it was quite a shock.
I never expected that
it was...
it was really difficult.
I mean, when you lose a parent
it's a big thing.
And to not be able
to be with your family
during that time
and not being able
to go to the funeral.
I just...
it leaves things unfinished.
I wanted to be there
for my family.
I needed to be there
and I couldn't.
It's probably the most
isolated place on the planet
and that's really hard
to adjust to.
I can see people who...
one winter would be
enough for them.
It's really hard for a lot
of people.
I found that there
was this curve
where I just really
started missing like
eating sushi and Indian food
and going to movies
and just like...
the life.
And then it became like so much
that I just really
missed it a lot
and then it just
dropped off and...
I don't miss...
I don't know if it's like
a post-traumatic stress
disorder response
or I don't want to think
about what I miss
or I'll get really distressed
or what it is,
but there's
not a lot that I miss.
I've been thinking
about avocados lately.
An avocado would be nice.
You may want to have
a toast with avocado
and then you can only
dream about it.
But simple as...
black tea with fresh milk
or perhaps even better
with fresh cream.
Dark bread.
It's brilliant.
Just to have
a fresh head of cauliflower
would be very nice now.
It's no good we can't do
anything for him now
In the winter of 2008,
I started a 48-hour
Antarctic film festival.
and invited all the bases
on the continent to participate.
One of the greatest pleasures
of watching these films
each year
is just getting to see what
the other bases look like...
and who else is out there
wintering over on the ice.
great to hear your voice.
Yes how are you?
I'm good. Yeah, yeah, I'm fine.
Everything's good here.
Just um...
having my breakfast
and some coffee.
How are your parents?
- Another hour?
- Ummm.
Are we ever going
to see the sun again?
One day.
Guess you start to get used
to living in a world
without light.
The days get short
and the nights get long
'till the nights get real long.
Towards the end
of the month there...
there's no more sun
that's all she wrote.
I was scared
of the coming darkness
the coming darkness
for so many months and I thought
is that going to get to me?
Is that going to make me...
well, how will that affect me?
I was pretty scared of that
and how that might...
just change me.
I would correspond
with winter-overs
when I was off the ice
and you could just
see it in their emails.
They would change.
And I'm like wow
is that going to change me?
I don't know.
As it is the light changes
enough in the sky
that it's still seems to me
that the sun is just
around the corner.
And I think that's had a great
effect on me because
it just reminds me that no,
it's not just dark.
Attention all stations
standby for a severe
weather condition announcement.
McMurdo weather has set
Severe Weather Condition One
McMurdo Station, T-site,
Arrival Heights,
Pegasus Field,
Williams Field,
road to Williams Field...
Check this out.
This is the entryway
to our dorm.
Normally this has carpet
on the ground
and the walls are just
normally walls, you know,
We're going to open
the door right now
and it's a little bit
like opening up
the door to another world.
Are you ready?
It's a little bit blowy
out there right now.
You know,
when you watch television here
and you see all the things
that are going wrong
in the world
you know that's...
it's like thank
goodness I'm here.
But then you also
then watch shows where
you see swaying palm trees
and people laughing
and bucolic scenes
and you're not there.
You're here where it's
dark and cold and windy.
I was out on the sea ice,
and suddenly
off of Observation Hill
comes rolling
these just waves...
waves of green...
like fairy dust.
Like a giant curtain
of fairy dust
just kind of undulating over me
that filled the whole sky
and just moved in waves across.
And I thought this is
either what it looks like
if aliens are about
to abduct you.
and almost like you feel like
you could reach up and touch it.
Or if you're a person
who believes in Heaven...
maybe this is what you see
when you go to Heaven.
I'm not sure,
but it was really an emotional
life-changing experience for me.
I mean I really found myself
not realizing I'd done it.
When I figured out
where my body position was
I was actually on my knees
and I was crying.
Like that's how beautiful
it was to me.
It's the month of June
and right now
it's the middle of the day.
I grew up in a very rural area
so I could see
the stars very well.
...In rural Minnesota.
And I've been in the mountains
and, you know, Colorado.
And I thought
wow the sky looks beautiful.
But I never knew a star
could flash like...
fluorescent pink...
fluorescent green...
fluorescent blue...
just in that rotation.
just blink-blink-
One star like...
it looks like a strobe
light to me.
There's a lot of them that look
like a strobe light up there.
And you would never know...
you'd never know...
what the sky looks like.
It's wonderful.
I loved the 24 hours
of darkness.
Maybe on full moon nights,
and other nights,
I would see the mountains.
But sometimes I'd forget
the mountains were even there.
And so my entire world
was just in the little spaces
and walking around.
It really does
change your perception.
Towards the end of summer,
the thing I was most
looking forward to was
seeing darkness again.
Like I just wanted
to see some nighttime.
And now that it's night time.
I don't really miss the day
that much right now.
We have three dinners
here each year.
Of course our sunset
now at the midwinter,
and as we all know
that sun rise isn't far away.
So I'd like you
to charge your glasses
and to friendships
and long-lasting friendships.
Thank you.
It's very cool that there is
a unique holiday in Antarctica
that people from all
over the world celebrate
and we send greetings
to each other,
and good will to each other,
and remember the history
that brought us here
in the first place
and the goals
of what we're up to
here in the first place.
And it's just...
it's wonderful.
I really liked
the mid-winter time.
Oh God.
Well, that woke me up.
Come on, Brody.
Do it. Do it.
Do it.
How is it?
The other day
I came in from outside
and Christine asked me
is it cold outside today?
And I said "Oh no.
It's not too bad."
And then it struck me...
the absurdity
of the conversation
because we're in Antarctica,
It's the middle of winter,
and she's asking me
if it's cold outside.
And secondly it was 40 below.
We haven't seen
the sun for months
and I thought it was a nice day.
So it's fascinating
the way our perceptions
of what we consider normal
have shifted.
Nine, zero, six.
Go for nine, zero, six.
Hey just checking
on the progress
is Scott Base road open again?
That is a negative.
We need 10 more minutes.
Being in this office-type
setting under fluorescents
for the six-day work week,
I think that ended up
being much more...
of a challenge
because I wasn't outside
and doing anything.
Firehouse, Genevieve.
Sure, one sec.
Trying to break out
of that rut of just...
going to work...
and doing it all over again.
Firehouse, Genevieve.
A lot of people work
the same thing
every day
and they're not used
to repetitive motions
in their actions.
It can be kind of tiring
just to do
the same thing every day
You have to bring some
spice into it.
Thank you.
Francis, your chef at McMurdo,
we exchange a few.
He brought his mead
and I gave him a bottle,
this mixed nine bottle.
And he says it's a very
good drink.
So well, tell me what you think?
- Cheers.
- L'chaim.
The winter season sets up
and offers more
of an introspective outlook...
where you can
take the time to read
or work on a craft.
There's still times
But I think it really helps
if you can
spend that time alone.
There's no substitute for just
having a good book in your hand.
Andrew Weil.
Now it's a very small
small print here.
Biblical Hebrew.
Grammar of biblical Hebrew.
I knit.
It keeps away the feeling
of stir craziness in the winter
when I just feel like I might
like to tear my hair out
and run outside screaming.
Towards the end of winter
the extreme cold, the fatigue,
and constant lack of sunlight
or any new stimulus
creates a condition
called T3 Syndrome.
Attention all stations,
standby for a severe weather
condition announcement.
The N-S-S...
N-S-F station manager,
has set severe weather
condition one for...
the following locations.
So I work at the store,
and we open every day at 11:30,
and almost every day
this person comes in
and buys something at like
11:35 or 11:40.
We have the same conversation.
I usually give him
a pack of cigarettes.
And the other day
at about the same time
he comes in and he goes "Wow!
I didn't know
you guys opened at this time.
Have you always been open
at this time?"
And I was like,
"So and so,
you come in every single day.
You buy the same thing
every single day."
And he was just like,
"Wow, I never thought you guys
were open at this time."
and he just kind of
wandered off.
Firehouse, Genevieve.
A couple of days ago
Talie called and I said
"Oh, Talie,
I'm so glad you called.
I was just thinking about...
I was thinking about you.
I was just about to page you."
And she said,
"Well you did page me."
So I had completely forgotten
that I had paged her.
And that seems to happen
more times than not.
There was a time where...
I was... had to go outside
and the chief she
tossed down a pair of boots.
I go ahead and I put them on
and I'm walking around in them
they feel really weird.
I don't know why.
I get to the door of the bay
where I'm leaving and...
and I look down and...
they're on the wrong feet.
So I walk back, I pull them off.
I take the right boot off
and set it down.
And take the left boot off
and set it down.
I pick up the first one
and put it on the same foot
I just had it on
and put on the...
So I had basically
taken them off
and put them back
on the wrong feet
and walked outside again.
I've been coming down here
since '99
so it's kind of...
it's all the same
to me pretty much.
It's gone.
My memory is gone.
I remember trying to call my Dad
at the same phone number
I grew up with.
I couldn't remember it.
I caught myself trying to...
It took me over 10 seconds
to remember if S came before
or after T in the alphabet.
And that was like a sign.
I need to get up
and away from my desk
and get a grip.
I've started saying "Ahhh"
a lot more
than I ever used to
and it's not something
I mean to do.
it's just something that
I use to fill the time
where I never did that before
I came down here.
I never, I mean,
I would say "Ah",
but I would never say
You ahhhh...
I just had a T3 moment.
I totally forgot
my line of thinking.
Sorry, what was
the original question?
If there's any way
to bottle or bring in
just the smell of summer...
the scent of flowers...
and of rain and of green grass
and of rivers.
The smell of crops and corn
and just the smell of dirt.
There's no smell of dirt here.
It's all volcanic.
Oh man.
I miss the rain
and trees and water and...
family and my knuckle-head
You do miss out on quite a bit.
You do make some sacrifices
coming down here.
I probably
would never repeat winter.
The problem is...
you never know
who you'll end up with.
You almost feel
like you're stuck...
stuck in a really small town
and there's nothing
else out there...
until the sun starts coming out.
And then you realize
where you are again.
There's a great feeling
of anticipation
when twilight begins
to creep back into the sky
in August.
It's a bit like being
a child again
waiting for Christmas.
August is also the coldest
time of the year.
And nacreous clouds
will start to form a lot more.
Although this is part
of the process
that is destroying
the ozone layer,
when the sun finally
does hit them
it can look incredible.
like the entire sky in on fire.
Seeing the sun is always still
the most amazing experience.
I wait for it
I wait for it to come back.
And then there'll be that
moment where I see it.
And I never know when
that moment is going to be.
But when it happens,
I just have to stop
wherever I am.
Stop in my tracks
and I just look at it.
I just want it to fill
the inside of my head,
just let that sun
come right through my eyes.
It's the life-giving thing.
Okay, away you go.
In this cup is boiling water.
It's 40 below zero outside.
This is what happens
when you throw
boiling hot water
into 40 below zero air.
Here we go.
The Population on base
suddenly doubles at Winfly
and for those of us
who have wintered over
the arrival of a whole
new crowd of faces
can be a bit bewildering.
It's kind of crazy.
I think people either
are energized by it
or just the opposite.
They have energy drawn from them
and I would tend to be
one of those people
who have energy drawn from me.
I'm not a big fan
of when all the folks come in.
For six months you've seen
only the same people every day.
There hasn't been anyone new.
All of a sudden you've got all
these new people coming through.
Kind of this feeling
of glee and happiness
mixed with revulsion
like, "Aggghhh, stay away!"
And I've even seen
winter-overs kind of hide
behind corners
and kind of look out.
We've had a closed community
over the winter
and there's been no germs,
no one gets sick.
But new people come in...
new germs.
They all have all this energy
and they're orange.
I mean we always talk
about the orange people
because they're tanned.
You don't really realize
how pale we all are
from lack of sunshine.
Just walking through the galley,
I felt like I was moving
at this little pace
and everyone else
was rushing around...
around me.
I was surprised at how
territorial we all were.
I remember getting back
from the flight line
and coming straight to dinner.
And I got my tray and my plate
and I looked up
and I saw a line.
And I was so livid
that I had to wait in line.
These new people they
weren't with the program yet.
They didn't know
what they were doing
the whole routine was messed up.
And I was so livid.
I felt like I could have
stabbed somebody with a fork.
And I didn't understand it.
I'm like,
"Why am I so angry?"
I couldn't eat in the galley.
I went up to my room.
I'm sitting in my room
for about 5 minutes
contemplating about
why I was so angry.
And then I get knocks on my door
and it's the rest
of the Firehouse.
"Can we eat in here with you?"
So we sat down
and for half an hour
we ate our meals watching TV.
Didn't say a word to each other
and it was beautiful.
The first few days,
or maybe the first week,
is kind of a culture shock.
You know, the dynamics change.
The noise level rises.
But after that
the new people that come here
they have so much energy
and I find that it brings me up.
And I actually get more excited
about getting stuff done
and moving around.
It kind of wakes me up.
Keri, how does it feel to have
a fresh apple after 6 months?
Orange, apple?
Why don't you take
that behind doors?
I'm sure I'll get one very soon.
Be gentle with the banana.
I would love to be able
to show the people
who I love the most
what it looks like down here...
what the sky looks like
down here in winter.
Because they're never
going to see it.
It's funny.
Right before winter started
we'd tell these stories
about how you'd get T3
and you get pale
and you're just
emotional sometimes.
And these people
who have never wintered
are looking at us
like we're freaks.
Like why would you ever
put yourself through
something like that?
And then, at the end,
we'd look at each other and say,
"Winter's the best.
It's the greatest."
I try and explain
the experience,
the Antarctic experience,
to people back home,
and they love hearing about it.
The stories and what it's like.
But, you know that...
they just...
they will never get it.
They'll never fully comprehend
what it's like down here.
So if you were to spend
another year down here
what would you do differently?
Not bring as much stuff.
I've met some of the best people
in the world here.
And I think a lot of that is
because of the fact
that those of us that come here
always have a kind
of a spirit of adventure.
And that's something
that kind of binds us together.
These might be...
the golden years of Antarctica.
Right now,
what is being done is science.
Right now there's
a treaty that says
you get to be here to cooperate,
look for peace,
and look for knowledge
for mankind.
And I just can't think
of another place
where that's really going on
so I feel really privileged
to be a citizen
of Antarctica right now.
I really really do.
And some day,
somebody is going to find a way
to get oil commercially.
And some day,
the treaty is going to end
And some day, you know...
I don't know that we'll always
be able to play as nice
as we can right now.
You come down here
out of a sense of adventure.
But then it gets
its hooks in you.
and you realize
how magic and fragile it all is.
And if we're not careful,
if we're not conscientious,
It could all get ruined.
Imagine you live in a house.
And this is just one room
in your house...
a cold room where nobody lives.
But it's still
a room in your house
and as such you have
to care about this room.
And you have to know
about what's going on there.
There is a good expression
in the English language:
Peace of mind.
I really like it.
Peace of mind
is a very nice thing to have.
The friends you make
and the memories
that you take from here
last a lifetime.
I've met guys who were
down here 50 years ago
who would like nothing
more in the world
than the chance
to come back again...
just one more time.
You know you can never really
call this place home.
But at the same time
there's a familiarity
that just builds up.
I definitely long for it
when I'm away.
I fully expect that my time here
is not going to end on my terms.
The program could change
or I might not pass
the physical...
or there might not be a job.
No one gets to stay
here indefinitely.
And then the time comes
when it's you turn to leave
and you never really
do know for sure
if you'll ever be back again.
One of the things I recall
in the process
of reacclimating to society
was a Monday morning.
It's probably 8:30
in the morning
and I am stuck in traffic.
I remember looking
at all the cars around me.
they're in their own little...
They're in the grind
of the world.
And I can't help
but look at everybody else
and think...
they're cattle.
It's just one big herd
moving from point A to point B.
and... at that point
I wanted to be back
on the Ice again.
It's not until you get
off the Ice
that you realize the absence
of smell that we have here...
the absence of odors.
So yeah...
you can go
to the Botanical Gardens
for an olfactory overload.
I'm going to go
to the New World Supermarket
and I'm going to stand
in the produce section
and just smell the air
for about 15 minutes.
some really good
chewy crusty bread,
a hunk of really good
blue cheese,
an avocado and some
red grapes with no seeds.
And that's what I'm going to eat
for like 3 meals.
There comes a point
in the winter
at least us, the guys,
us in the Firehouse,
we stop talking about women.
And we start talking about food
because it's a much more
realistic prospect.
I've narrowed it down.
I'm going to go
and I'm going to have
steak and lobster.
I'm going to splurge.
Fresh vegetables with flavor.
A bean burrito from Taco Bell.
Dark bread.
A bowl of cornflakes
with real milk
and sliced bananas.
Eggs Benedict at the Boulevard
in New Zealand.
Anything in Christchurch
is always good.
Anything non-institutional.
When I get back to New Zealand
the first thing I long to do
well first, first thing is go
through the Botanic Gardens
and just touch the grass
and smell the flowers.
But then I try to get
to the ocean
to see that motion I guess.
You're standing on
the ocean now.
That's what's so funny.
And I'm a mountain girl,
so it's never been
a draw before.
Walk barefoot in grass.
I'm going to fly straight home
to Washington State.
And I'm going to fly-fish
my brains out for about 3 weeks
going for salmon and steel head.
And when I puke,
I think that's when I'll stop.
I really like going to sleep
in my own bed.
I really like...
Oh rain.
Just hearing the rain
and seeing it
feeling it again.
I plan on doing nothing.
I hope it rains at least one day
while I'm in Christchurch,
just so I can
wander around in the rain.
I'd love that.
I hope it's...
I want some rain.
Have a decent sleep.
Have a decent sleep
for a few days.
I don't know.
Check into a hotel room
and take a bath.
My brain is freezing.
Let me think.
I think my brain is freezing now
and I can't think.
Skip that question.