Monday, November 19, 2007


Maitri Station, Antarctica: 16.11.2007

This morning I feel more adapted and acclimatized. Yesterday I was feeling quite tied down with the polar suit overall and found it quite cumbersome to get in and out. Since all our rooms and dinning area are well heated, I could not sit there with this gown on and had to get out of it. The thought of going out and before that getting into it would dampen my enthusiasm to go outdoors. Without it I would feel the chill. It is simply a matter of practice since the winterers do not have any problems with it, and I am sure in a day or two I would overcome my resistance to it. I have requested for a two piece polar suit and this morning I have been assured of one this evening. In any case, this morning appears warmer, brighter and sunnier, though it may not be so temperature wise.

Yesterday I had rested for an hour, and then slept quite comfortably last night. The previous night of 14/15 Nov had gone in travel and so sleep had to oblige me. The bathrooms are heated and there is 24-hour hot water supply, and hence taking bath should be no problem, though we have been advised to have bath every 5-6 days. The bathrooms are not attached to our sleeping area, but situated a few steps away. Our rooms are modular rooms with four beds in 2×2 bunkers. I am sharing the room right now with only one person, Dr Casper Johnson. The winterers stay in the main building and enjoy a cubicle each. Their baths and toilets are also in the same building. There is common kitchen and dinning area. For the summer team there is a 24 hour pantry 'Annapurna' stocked with tea, coffee, maltova, bournvita, milk-powder, milkmaid, bread, jam, snacks incl bikaneri bhujia, murukku, chikki, biscuits etc. It has attached recreational room with tv, dvd player, carom and chess etc. We are encouraged to use 'Annapurna', and visit the main building only for lunch, dinner, and breakfast and for some common meetings etc. Right now there are fresh vegetables like brinjals, shimla mirch, beans, onions etc. The ship will bring some more towards Dec/Jan. Last night we had 'palak-matar (frozen), curd (from powder milk) etc. This morning aloo paratha and curd. Everybody is waiting for the day of dosa and utthapam which is by rotation.

The mails are sent and received once a day in the morning. We can make a tele call at any reasonable time of the day. The summer team is allowed 6 min per month, the winterers 20 min. To make calls from here is very expensive, Rs 104 per min as it travels almost 80 thousand KM to reach its destination. It is cheaper to call from India. Members say that it is most economical by the Reliance landline, Rs 15-20 per min.

The ship is bringing all the equipment to establish an Earth-station that will enhance the signal capacity of Maitri station enormously. Telephone calls will be then as convenient and cheaper like making to anywhere in India from NCAOR, Goa. The station then will also be able to receive Indian TV channels. This is likely to become functional by Jan/Feb 2008, and so to enjoy all this I shall have to come here once more next year.

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