Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happy Midwinter 2008

Midwinter's Day or the Winter Solstice, first celebrated in 1898 by the crew of the ice trapped Belgica, might be the most celebrated holiday on the continent. Certainly, more people take part in the summer holiday because they are more here, but I didn't feel the summer holidays were as festive. They weren't intimate and people may have been missing home. This is just my impressions though. I feel like the Midwinter holiday has a special meaning for winterovers. It is the turning point for our revolution around the sun. From here on out, we just get closer to the sun and closer to day light. The sun should rise around August 20th, but we'll get day light on the horizon a few weeks before that.

Part of the tradition is for each research station to send a greeting card or invitation to dinner. I don't think anyone has ever been able to accept an invitation though. Below are this year's cards. Some of them look a LOT warmer.

McMurdo Station, Ross Island (United States)

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Geographic South Pole (United States)

Chilean Antarctica Institute, Various (Chile)

Bird Island (United Kingdom)

Halley Research Station, Brunt Ice Shelf (United Kingdom)

SANAE IV, Fimbul Coastal Ice Shelf in Queen Maud Land (South Africa)

Jubany, King George Island (Argentina)

Scott Base, Ross Island (New Zealand)

Syowa Station, East Ongul Island (Japan)

Rothera Research Station, Adelaide Island (United Kingdom)

Neumayer Station, Atka-Bay (Germany)

Palmer Station, Anvers Island (United States)

Midtvinterhilsen-Troll Station, Dronning Maud Land (Norway)

Mawson Station, Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea (Australia)

Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva Station, King George Island (Chile)

Davis Station, Princess Elizabeth Island (Australia)

Dumont d'Urville Station, Adelie Land (France)

Concordia Station, Dome C, Antarctic Plateau (France, Italy)

Crozet Island Station (France?)

Casey Station, Vincennes Bay (Australia)

Belgrano II, Coats Land (Argentina)

If you made it this far and think it seems like a lot, don't forget how many bases are down here.


  1. holy cow!!! i didn't know you guys had such a large operation. (what am i thinking?? i'm so naiive)

    are u going to your base's dinner?

  2. I might have gone to our base's dinner. Check my latest post.

    Our base is the largest base by FAR during the summer or winter. In the summer, we can carry up to 1,100 people. In the winter, we used to carry 250, but now only 125 and still have more than anyone else. 250 is the summer population of the South Pole Station (60 in the winter), which is the second biggest station on the continent (I think). The local Kiwi base carries 65 in the summer and less than 20 in the winter. Palmer Station on the other side of the continent carries 45 max in the summer and maybe 20 in the winter.