Nathan Cross – Scott Base winter science technician
Nathan Cross @ Scott Base played the first half but was unable to play the second half. Jimmy Weddell filled in for him on the second half.
"Lance Warrick (2nd place winner in brown sweatshirt & hat) pulled it all
together for us and kept up the scoring tables. This was a great feat
since over half of the players didn't know how to play in the beginning!
We had a crash course in euchre playing the night before which was well
attended by about 20 people. So as you can see, it's turned out to be a
popular game even here! We stuck with 12 players so not everyone who
attended our crash course could play in the tourney, but we all had a
great time playing and warming up for the tourney. Even now I can pass
through the dining room in the late evening and find the occassional
table of 4 playing fiercely." - Linda Lorenzen
McMurdo Station, located at 77 degrees 51 minutes S, 166 degrees 40 minutes E, is the largest Antarctic station. McMurdo is built on the bare volcanic rock of Hut Point Peninsula on Ross Island, the solid ground farthest south that is accessible by ship.
The station was established in December 1955. It is the logistics hub of the U.S. Antarctic Program, with a harbor, landing strips on sea ice and shelf ice, and a helicopter pad. Its 85 or so buildings range in size from a small radio shack to large, three-story structures. Repair facilities, dormitories, administrative buildings, a firehouse, power plant, water distillation plant, wharf, stores, clubs, warehouses, and the first class Crary Lab are linked by above-ground water, sewer, telephone, and power lines
Recorded temperature extremes have been as low as minus 50 degrees Centigrade and as high as plus 8 degrees Centigrade. Annual mean is minus 18 degrees Centigrade; monthly mean temperatures range from minus 3 degrees Centigrade in January to minus 28 degrees Centigrade in August.
Drifting snow can accumulate about 1.5 meters per year, although the station becomes snow-free in summer. Average wind is about 5.1 meters per second; a gust of 52 meters per second was recorded in July 1968.
Signature in the Guestbook
As the month of May was coming to a close and the temperatures were climbing into the triple digits here in Las Vegas, I was notified that the guest book at euchrelinks.com had recently been signed. I routinely filter the guestbook to keep it free of riff- raff.
What I found was a post from a lady named Linda Lorenzen that said in part; "We play Euchre here at McMurdo Station in Antarctica and are setting up a tournament on a weekend soon. We have players from all over the world so it makes the games a little more exciting."
I'm rather embarrassed to admit that I was skeptical at first. From the little knowledge that I had about Antarctica, I somehow gathered that the continent at the bottom of the Earth (actually, how do we know that it really isn't the top?) is inhabited only by scientists who are all business, not the types having time for recreational activities such as card games and such.
I did send a reply to the attached e-mail address requesting more info but added; "If you are pulling my leg about all this, good job." I then checked to see if anybody from Antarctica had recently visited my site and was delighted to find a visitor from "McMurdo Station Antarctica" had in fact been there.
A reply comes from the deep South...
"Nope, not pulling your leg at all! There are 119 souls here at McMurdo Station and we are from all over the world. You can find us if you look on a map and find the Ross Sea and the Ross Ice Shelf. Look for an island called Roosevelt Island. Zip straight to the right until you bump into land again and we should be right there, off a little promentory. Mt. Erebus volcano is right next door to us. During the winter season (now for us, summertime for you) the population is pretty small. We only have to maintain the base (or "town") for the summertime scientists and crews that come along with them. During the summer session (Sept-Feb) there are about 1200-1500 souls here.
Most of us are from the States, however, we do have a nice complement of New Zealanders, someone from Australia, someone from Africa and someone from Poland. This doesn't include the Stater's whose address is somewhere in the States (Alaska is popular! No state taxes to be paid!) and who travel during their 3 months off between seasons on the Ice. These are just the ones I know for sure."
Euchre in Antarctica?
Linda went on to explain more details about card games in the World's least- populated continent; "As far as card playing, cribbage is popular, as is Pitch. But I'm a long time 500 player who began with Euchre so I'm ready for the tournament! (Long time cribbage player but I'm a terrible Pitch player!) Cost is $5 to get in, winning team takes 70% of the winnings and the rest is divided among the 2nd and 3rd place finishers."
Linda also told me that the rules from euchrelinks.com would be in effect and that a round robin would be played. So on July 1st and 8th, 2007, a euchre tournament was taking place thousands of miles away from the 100+ degree weather of Las Vegas.
July 1 and 8, 2007
1st place winner – Jimmy Weddell (right)
2nd place winner – Lance Warrick (center)
3rd place winner – Kevin Arendt (left)
Special thanks to Linda Lorenzen and the folks at McMurdo station* for sharing this story with us.
a little more about McMurdo:
* and to the poor bloke at Scott Base who couldn't play the second half, but whose tournament seed did in fact end up victorious.