A bust of Admieral Byrd on the back of the Chalet.
DVs get to stay in Hut 10 which is a small version of your house back home. They have a private, kitchen, bathroom, etc. The regular dorms have none of these amenities. Other people also make their own beds and take out their garbage. If you were coming to visit would you want to see how the people who make it all work actually live or have it a little cushier? If we didn't have DVs, we might not have Hut 10 at all for all I know. It is great that we do have it though because when they aren't using it, the base fortunately makes it accessible to us for small gatherings. This coming week we are holding a dinner for Annie Farris' 40th birthday there. She is one of the best people down here. So much good energy and so much to share with others.
When DVs come down, they usually to flown to the best places to truly see Antarctica. These include the Dry Valleys, the South Pole, the Cape Royds penguin colony, among many other great spots. Most people down here see one or none of those places their entire season. There are people who have been here for a few years who haven't been to any of those places. You only get to go if you have work to do or if you get lucky enough to do a morale trip. I can see where people get grumpy, but at the same time if we don't show the DVs our best, then they may not push so hard to keep funding for this place. It's politics, same as always.
The Dry Valleys that never freeze in Antarctica. Just 40 miles away physically, but much farther when it comes to getting a chance to go there.
The reason it flared up this week was that DVs don't always attend Happy Camper school or the Outdoor Safety Lecture, which we need to be able to go outside and recreate. However, one DV was allowed to go out hiking without anyway. Not only does that put him at risk, it puts our Search & Rescue team at risk who would need to go after him. Another reason for flare up was that a DVs son who happens to be here got to go to South Pole outside of the normal channels - essentially resulting in the favoritism that they put in a system to avoid. I know some people are even reluctant to talk about the fabulous trips they get to take because other people get jealous.
Happy Camper school where anyone who could be stranded on the continent learns to fend for themselves using just their survival bags.
Personally, I can see why people get irritated, but it is what it is. We knew what we signed for before we came here. Everything else is just a bonus. In the following picture, I'm not sure if the bag is that of a DV or just happens to be brand new. The jaded folks I talked to suggested that the DVs would all have brand new Big Reds and bags. The bags and jackets I saw matched this description, but it also could have been by chance.
The issued bag of a DV (left) vs my bag (right)