How to Take a Two Minute Shower

Here at Pole, we are allotted two minute showers, twice a week. Because all of our water is melted from the ice we live on, and because in order to melt that water we burn AN8 jet fuel, and because to get that jet fuel we have to have many, many flights bearing about 3,000 gallons of AN8 at a time or send in an over-ice traverse hundreds of miles from McMurdo, our water is very costly and not so great for the environment. Therefore we limit our water usage in every way possible except for drinking water and handwashing water, and water for making coffee because without coffee there is mutiny.

There are a few different ways to take a two minute shower.

The Classic: A bit of run time to get wet enough, a good lather-up, and short bursts between shampoo, face soap, body soap and feet soap to avoid cross-contamination. Shave using a coffee mug for razor dips as needed.

The Hilton Two Minute: Shave dry standing in the shower. Get wet for 30 seconds, put all of your soaps on in succession by hierarchy of dirtiness (face soap first, then shampoo, then body soap, then second shampoo, then feet soap), and then enjoy a full minute and a half of delicious hot water. Use a lot of lotion after to avoid wicked razorburn.

The Squeegee: A hybrid of the Classic and the Hilton, the showerer gets wet for a full minute, then gets mostly soapy and rinses his or her face if the soap starts to sting in the eyes, but uses short bursts of water to successively get less and less soapy, squeegee-ing with their hands in between until soapless.

The Brazilian: Can be performed on a shower day or on a normal day. Hoist legs up on sink, shave legs, wash body parts as needed. If showering after, wet hair and shampoo. Leave shampoo in until you get in the shower.

The Viper: Use baby wipes. Dispose.

The WinterOver: Just stop showering. It’s really too much effort.

The Extreme Antarctic Explorer a.k.a. The Chinchilla: Get naked outside, rub snow all over yourself, roll around a bit, hoot and holler and shriek as needed. Re-dress. Have a cup of coffee, and perhaps a whiskey. This one is a freebie but discouraged due to the treaty: you’re not allowed to pee or spit chewing tobacco or vomit because you drank too much at the Summer Camp Lounge or leave your dirty snow behind. Leave no trace really means leave no trace.

The Hollywood: Shower as many times a week as you like, for as long as you like. Use makeup and perfume and put on clean clothing. Get assaulted by a gang of dirty, jealous Polies and never shower again. That would actually save water, in the long run.

Antarctica in the News: AGAP and the Gamburtsev Mountains

Two Sundays ago, we had a Sunday Science Lecture by a scientist who works with AGAP, the Antarctic Gamburtsev Project. She mentioned that they were on the verge of a breakthrough in learning about how the Gambutsevs were formed.

Now AGAP has made international news!

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation, Gamburtsev topography by Abdulhakim Abdi, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, from

 You can read more about this at The National Science Foundation‘s website, on the BBC, or on the website of the US Geological Survey.