Archive for February, 2010

Heading North

February 15, 2010


Unobstructed wind

Blowing over snow and ice

Cold, matchless beauty

This blog started as a suggestion from my wife and kids as a way to keep friends and family apprised of my Antarctic adventure.  Hopefully, I accomplished that objective.  I hope you found some of the subjects as interesting as I did.  I thought many of the Sunday Evening Science Lectures were very interesting and was sorry to miss a few at the end of the season. (I have been working on Sunday evenings).

Like much of life’s experiences, my time here started out fresh and adventuresome and slowly evolved into a ho-hum routine.  I remember the first weeks that I worked in the tower; I spent the entire shift looking at the unbelievable view through the binoculars.  Everyday I would see something new, or a change in lighting would make everything appear different.

Fata Morgana  (a type of mirage) could change the view on an hourly basis.  The most common form of Fata is the illusion of a cliff where the land and ice meet.  A smooth slope down to the ice on one day would appear as a large cliff the next.

My first walk to Hut Point seemed like a hazardous trip.  Even though it is only about a mile round trip, the frigid temperatures and glacial winds made it a brutal walk.  With the nicer weather, I now take the same walk on a daily basis.

Antarctica is the highest, (South Pole is near 10,000 feet because of all the ice it sits on) driest, (one large desert), and windiest (180 mph winds recorded at Commonwealth Bay) continent on earth.  But Ross Island, where McMurdo Station sits at sea level has a mild summertime climate.  I’m very thankful for the opportunity to spend some time here, but I’m more than ready to return home.  Barring a delay, I will leave McMurdo for New Zealand on Friday, February 19th.

Above:  Mirage of a cliff (Fata Morgana)

The panoramic views will be missed.



February 4, 2010

I don’t have much to write about, but I thought I would post a bunch of pictures Mike & I have taken recently.  Our time on the ice is running short – we are scheduled to depart for New Zealand in 2 weeks on February 19th.

Above & below:  Emperor penguin on the Ross Ice Shelf.  White Island behind.

Above: 6 LC-130 Hercules       Below:  4 twin otters and 1 DC-3

Above:  The container ship  American Tern arriving at McMurdo.  Notice the blow spout from a whale in the foreground.  Mt. Lister in background.

Below:  Unloading containers.

Above:  The ice edge about 6 miles from McMurdo Station

Below:  Ice chunk off Hut Point

Above:  The bearded brother with Mt. Erebus in the background.

Below:  Just another beautiful day in paradise.