Questions For Mr. Dave

From Alberta, Canada

Dear Dave,

Hello, our names are Jason Bell, Lyall Czernick, Matt Pahl, and Suzanne Jobse. We are in grade 6D at Gibbons School, Alberta. We have a few questions about Antarctica that we would really like you to answer:

  1. Do you live in a igloo and if so is it comfy inside of it?
  2. How cold is it there?
  3. How warm is it there?
  4. Did you see any wild animals and if so which ones.
  5. What do you like to do in Antarctica?
  6. How much snow (in centimeters) do you get in Antarctica?
  7. Do you like it there? What do you like the best about it?

Thank-you for answering our questions. We will look forward for your response.

From Matt, Jason, Lyall, and Suzanne

P.S. We hope you haven't already answered these questions, but if you have, we didn't get to see it. Thanks!

Gibbons School
Gibbons, Alberta, Canada

Hi Kids,

No, I do not live in a igloo. I live in a dormitory that is three stories high. It has a pool table, sauna, washers, and TV lounges. I have a room to myself, and have a stereo, TV, VCR, and a refrigerator in my room. I have almost all the comforts of home.

A few weeks ago, I attended Snow Craft School, where they taught us how to use the emergency equipment we carry when we are traveling out of town. We went out on the Ross Ice Shelf and camped overnight. We built an igloo, and a few of the people in the class slept in the igloo. I was inside and it was comfortable. I stayed in a Scott Tent, modeled after the ones Robert Scott used on his Pole expedition. Scott died and was buried in a Scott Tent.

It is the end of the summer here, so the temperatures are getting colder. The warmest temperatures I saw during the summer were about 40 F. In the last week, we have noticed it getting colder. Until today when it got into the teens, the temperatures ranged from -4 to 8 F. With the wind blowing we have seen wind chills of -40 F. The coldest month will be August, which is probably you warmest month.

There are no land animals of which to speak. I have seen penguins, seals, and skuas. You may not have heard of a skua before, it is the Antarctic cousin of the sea gull. I have seen 22 penguins so far today. Until the past week, I had not seen any. The ice in McMurdo sound is finally breaking up, so I may see some whales soon. A friend saw a Minke whale last evening, which she says is like a small Orca.

I like it here, it is so beautiful. The air is very clear, and there are beautiful mountains across the sound. On an average day, the visibility is greater than 50 miles. Mount Erebus, which is an active volcano about 25 miles away, is beautiful to see as it rises over 2 miles into the sky. Many days when the wind is calm near the peak, we can see steam or smoke rising. I enjoy the scenery and the people.

I am working long days, so I do not get a lot of off time. There are many activities to keep people active in their off time. They have crafts, a bingo night, gyms, and even a bowling alley. We get very little snow here. Today we received about 1/2 inch, which is the most I have seen since I have been here. I would say we get less than a few inches a month total. This is surprising to many people, because of all the pictures they see of ice and snow. The town where I am living is on volcanic rock. Out of town are glaciers with lots of snow, but it builds up over thousands of years. I am living in a desert. The precipitation here is very low, and the humidity is about 10 %.

I hope this answers your questions, and thanks for writing,

David Hess NK3T
Presently living in beautiful downtown McMurdo, Antarctica.

Patricia A. Weeg
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