January 29, 2010

Stamps of the Week: Antarctica!

Since so much of my life over the last 8 years has been consumed and surrounded by all things Antarctica, it's only appropriate that some Antarctica stamps be included on my blog at some point.

This first set of stamps shows the dome at South Pole Station. My office was in this dome during my first year working on the ice. I used to have to wear gloves and a hat when in my office because it was so cold. But it was an amazing time to be spending my first months in Antarctica so I didn't really mind.

A new station was built by the National Science Foundation in the last few years and the dome was deconstructed this summer- right about now they're packing up the pieces and flying them back to the states. You can read more about the dome being taken down here which has some great photos.

I should state that Antarctica doesn't have 'real' postage stamps because there is no government there. These stamps are simply for show, but they're fun to put on packages and to me they're endearing.

This next set of stamps is also from Antarctica. The gray stamps show the 'new' station at South Pole, which replaced the dome. You can still see the dome on the left side in the photo used for this stamp- it was beginning to get covered up with snow. This monstrosity of a building, the new station, is where I spent 13 months straight the year that I wintered at south pole. This building houses everyone, has a dining facility, offices, gym, craft room, greenhouse, etc... It's quite a large building, but when locked up with 75 people and no way to leave, it sometimes feels pretty small.

The pink stamps are from McMurdo Station which is also a US station in Antarctica, but it's on the coast so it's kind of like being in the banana belt compared to South Pole. We never saw temps above 0 during my time at Pole and during my winter we saw it dip as low as -107 F. McMurdo on the other hand gets as high as 40 in the summer, which feels simply fabulous compared to being at Pole. McMurdo is also surrounded by mountains and this stamp really captures the feel of the place.

These stamps are from Palmer Station- the smallest and arguably the nicest of the 3 US stations in Antarctica. I've never been there, but my hubdude is there right now and has sent back some fantastic photos. Palmer is surrounded by water, glaciers and little islands. It looks beautiful. You can see photos of Palmer here on hubdude's blog. I really love these stamps- perhaps because I really really really want to go there.

I lived in Alaska for a long time, so I thought I would throw in these Alaska stamps as well in case you haven't seen them. These are only 1-2 years old. I think they're actually quite uninteresting compared to the reality of Alaska, but they have nice colors.

Some of the stamps I collect aren't really postage stamps at all- like these next two sets. I don't even know where or how they came to be in my possession but I do love yellow, so I'm sure that's why they stayed.

And last, some random plant stamps that were mixed in with these others. Being the plant geek that I am, I would love to see these plants in person and understand the plant communities that they belong to.

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