In the 1980s, the only way for Antarcticans to communicate with loved ones back home was by writing letters (in the summer) or by making phone calls patched through by high-frequency radio. The radio didn't always work, however, and messages often had to be short. Fortunately, five years later, the blogging trend that swept the rest of the world had also moved onto the Ice. Today there are dozens and dozens of Antarctic blogs online.
But Raytheon Polar Services, the government contractor that has run the three U.S. stations in Antarctica for the past decade, doesn't always approve of what goes up on those blogs. The friction there, and the company's quest to win the next thirteen-year Antarctic Support Contract, is the subject of this week's feature story. Examples of current and past Antarctic blogs include:
BigDeadPlace.com, the controversial blog from author Nick Johnson.
Antarctiken.com, from Ken Klassy, a systems admin at McMurdo, who focuses on posting his gorgeous photos, but also details her daily successes and frustrations.
South Pole Station is Bill Spindler's incredibly comprehensive, historical take on the South Pole.
Icewishes.wordpress.com, detailing the life of a "peripatetic redhead" run amok in Antarctica, specifically at the South Pole.
60south.com, which is primarily concerned with art and photography at the bottom of the world. It also provides a discussion board and other links.
Vagabumming.com is a view from Palmer Station.
Harriettstomato.com, an unusual look at the life of a cook at the South Pole.
Pen Gwin's Antarctic Adventure, detailing the daily life of a communications tech at McMurdo.
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78degreessouth.blogspot.com, from 2007.
Among Penguins, by a penguin studier earlier this year.
Mitchell-antarctica.blogspot.com, by a researcher who spent part of 2008 at McMurdo Station.
Blogs.bootsnall.com/luke, written by a repeat visitor to the Ice.
Blog.images-by-emily.com is a fun one.
Frostbytes has beautiful photography from half of a husband-wife team.
Antarctic Thoughts: Driving shuttles on the ice.
Jasonsolis.blogspot.com/ is from 2008.
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Payot is another Palmer Station take.