Thursday, November 29, 2007


Well I conquered yet another remote corner of the world and I am heading to an even more remote one today. This is all I can do for now as I am in a super rush but Pole is a trip. Good people, good food and a place that feels like I am living in a spaceship. Here is a photo of me in the old dome that is buried and being dismantled and another photo of a small tunnel connecting two areas where all moisture just freezes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Haunted House

So recently I had the opportunity to visit two of three old huts that are scattered around Ross Island. Both huts were built around the turn of the century either by Shackleton or Scott expeditions that were trying to cross Antarctica or go to the South Pole. The huts are in pretty amazing condition considering how old they are. The two pictures above are from the hut at Cape Evans. This is were Scott based out of when he went to the South Pole and then died on the way back. Inside the hut it was as if everyone just got up and left for the day and never returned. I am not sure if the penguin on the table is food or for an experiment. Inside this hut they had stables, a dark room, other little science labs, the cooking area, sleeping area and a huge table for everyone to eat at. The bad thing was that the lighting wasn't that great so it felt a little ire inside since it was such a ghost town. Just for a reference in the photo of the hut it is probably about three in the morning on a very cloudy night.

There is another hut located at Cape Royds which was used in one of Shackleton's expeditions when he was trying to cross the continent. The hut is very cool and my photos wouldn't download for some reason but maybe the will eventually get up there. The good thing is that there is an Adelie penguin colony right there which had probably a couple hundred penguins just hanging out getting ready to breed. It smelled pretty bad but those little guys are pretty funny to just sit and watch. They will steal rocks from each other to build nests and also a lot of wing flapping and making noise.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Field Trip

I am going to try to crank out four posts this month as a certain friend wants me to break the current record of three. For the past two weeks I went out to a field camp and helped some scientists in the Granite Harbor area which is about an hour flight from McMurdo to the northwest. The group was doing some seismic testing to hopefully find a good area to drill into the earth and take core samples. My job out there was to monitor the sea ice and make sure that we all didn't get blown out to see if it started to break up. The good thing was that while I was out there the ice was actually really stable. The bad thing was that it made my job kind of boring as there wasn't too much to check. I did screw around with my camera taking black and white photos so you all get to look at some that came out okay. The first is of the scientists raising an airgun out of the water after it just shot out a giant air bubble that then bounced off the sea floor bottom and the bounced back up to the surface and was recorded by a bunch of fancy microphones. Depending on what the microphones read you can tell what are the different types of sediment in the earth. It is an interesting process for about five minutes and we did it for a couple weeks.
This photo is of a tabular iceberg, which is a giant chunk of ice that broke off a glacier that is floating in the ocean. This one is probably a couple hundred feet high and maybe a quarter mile square. Some of them can be over a mile long and they will just break off and the float around in the sea ice. Eventually they either get stuck in the ice for another winter like this one, which as you can see has ice all around it, or float out to the ocean to melt. You feel very small next to them except when you get to fly around them in a helicopter.
Here are a couple of shots from the area surrounding camp, we had some pretty beautiful skies while I was out there. Actually, I would call this place the Bermuda Triangle of Antarctica because my time was characterized by amazing weather when everyone else on the continent was getting horrible weather, and the Triangle part of the name is that nine out of eleven machines broke down while we were out there, some of them more than once requiring an enormous amount of time and energy to get them back up and running.