While working at the South Pole, Sayer Houseal provides some unexpected answers to questions from elementary students.

Jan 18, 2017–Yeti exist. They live at the South Pole.

This news is according to my son, who is finishing his second stint working at Amundsen-Scott Station at 90 degrees south latitude.

One of the highlights of his mail call is answering letters from elementary students in the United States. I always learn from their questions, and, questionably, from his answers.

Dear Mr. Houseal,
Are there penguins and polar bears?

We are in the middle of the continent at an elevation of 10,000 feet. There is no water, no food source, no landscape. I’m sorry to disappoint everyone, but there never have been and never will be polar bears in Antarctica.

For that matter, there is no wildlife at the South Pole. All of the seals, penguins, whales, and sea life live on the coast.

Dear Mr. Houseal,
What is your food supply?

We have several sources. There is a greenhouse in the station that grows tasty vegetables for us to eat at every meal. Most of our food, however, gets flown to us on an airplane each week. We get fresh eggs, vegetables, fruit, cereal, and bread from New Zealand. No fresh milk. The milk is powdered and mixed with water. I don’t like it, so I don’t eat cereal when I am here. The best thing, though, since it is always frozen here, is that we don’t need to use a freezer! There is food on the shelves that is older than you, but it stays frozen until we need it. We eat food that you might eat back home. Each week, the menu changes. We have BBQ, pasta, pizza, waffles, meatloaf, lasagna, salad, vegetables, soup, tuna casserole, chicken and dumplings, steak, baked potatoes, etc. Dessert is the best, with cake, muffins, banana pudding, ice cream, pie, peach cobbler, etc. There are even cookies out on a tray for us 24 hours a day!

Dear Mr. Houseal,
Do you have starlight there? Or wi-fi?

In the summer there is no starlight. There is only sunlight, all day and every day. The sun sets one time a year and rises one time a year. It is like living in a single day that has been stretched into a year. In the winter months, there is no sunlight at all for 4 months. The stars here are the best in the world. You can see every one of them and the sky is really pretty. This makes the South Pole the best location on the planet for telescopes. And no, there is no wi-fi here. We only get internet for a few hours a day and it is really slow. We can’t even watch YouTube!

Dear Mr. Houseal,
How many coats/sweaters do you have?

Normally, I wear a few layers of clothes when I go outside. I have a long sleeve shirt, long pants, some overalls, a small jacket, and then a big jacket. I wear two beanies on my head and a scarf, and some goggles to keep the sunlight out of my eyes. If it is really cold, I have an even bigger jacket that is red and very warm.

Dear Mr. Houseal,
How cold does it usually get there? Some of my predictions are negative 47 degrees Fahrenheit. Another question of mine is if you’ve seen snowflakes, what do they look like?

Your predictions on the temperature are very accurate. I often work on days that it is -47 degrees Fahrenheit. It is summer here now, and the temperature stays between -10 degrees and -60 degrees. With the wind chill added, the temperature feels like -80 on some days. The warmest it has ever been at the South Pole is 12 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest it has been is -117 degrees.

No snow actually falls here at the South Pole. It is too dry, and snowflakes only form when there is moisture. Instead, all of the snow blows here from other places on the continent. By the time it gets to us, it looks exactly like small pieces of sand. When the wind blows, it looks like the sky is full of glitter.

Dear Mr. Houseal,
1) Have you ever had proof of the yeti?
2) Has anyone ever had their fingers bit off by a penguin?

I always wonder the same things. Proof of the yeti? Yes, I think so. Sometimes when the wind is blowing just right, I hear a growling coming from far off in the distance. I’m too scared to go investigate, but I think it is probably a yeti. I saw a track in the snow last week that didn’t look like a human, but I’m not sure what it is. I’ll keep my eyes out and let you know if I discover some bones or fur.

As for someone getting their fingers bitten off by a penguin? That I can say has definitely never happened. I would have heard about it. Most people wear gloves and we are not supposed to go close to the penguins. I bet you would have more of a chance of losing your hand to a penguin if you visit the zoo.

Dear Mr. Houseal,
Hope you don’t get too bored and may the force be with you. Have warm days and strong spirits.

May the force be also with you.



Follow Sayer Houseal’s adventures at http://www.sayerdoesthings.blogspot.com


Phil Houseal is a writer and owner of Full House PR.


Contact him at phil@fullhouseproductions.net