Monday, July 18, 2011

Pressure Ridges, with Seals even

This is from another rec. trip , our group was taken over the hill about a mile and a half from McMurdo Station to Scott Base ( the New Zealand Antarctic Station ) their base sits right on the shore of the Ross Sea and they have spectacular Pressure Ridges that form when the tidal water forces the seas ice up against the land mass where the ice then buckles from the built up force.

During the summer months is when most of the seal pups are born so it is easy to find seals sunning themselves with the newborns.

Trying to be good tourists and attempting to follow the guidelines of the Antarctic treaty which forbids people from ubsetting the wildlife.

So many camera opps it's hard to pick out the best shots.


Moving right along.

Astounding what nature can do.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rec. Trip #1: Cape Evans

Periodically throughout the summer season the on station recreation department sets up trips for stations workers to go out and see the sights either on Ross Island or the surrounding ice shelf. One such trip was to Cape Evans on the west side of Ross Island, the cape was discovered during Robert Falcon Scotts "Discovery Expedition " and was originally named the skuary.

Scott's second expedition, the "British Antarctic Expedition" built it's head quarters there and renemed the cape for Lieutenant Edward Evans of the Royal Navy who was second in command for the expedition. The headquarters building still exists on the site and is known as Scott's Hut.

A Delta, one of the many specialized vehicles brought down to the continent and relied on for personnel transport in the harsh environment.

Luckily on the drive to Cape Evans across the frozen Ross Sea we were able to stop and see Icebergs that were trapped in the frozen waters for the winter until the seasonal thaw freed them to continue their way out to the open ocean.

ME! during the long walk around the ice berg.

The following are interior shots of the hut at Cape Evans, all the original artifacts were left here intact, essentially frozen in time ( HA!) . The penguin carcass is pretty much mummified as are the seal piles of seal skins.

Lab equipment is all left in it's orignal places in the make shift lab in the hut.

Unamed Island ( meaning i don't know it's name ) in the distance.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Winfly 2010 and the auroras

This is what made me want to winter!

After my first summer on the Ice I kept telling myself that I would never want to spend a winter on the continent, the idea of being in the cold darkness of Antarctica for that long didn't appeal to me whatsoever... and then I got here for my second summer arriving at Winfly ( austral winter flights ) which marks the beginning of the summer season. During this time the McMurdo is prepped for the upcoming Mainbody flights where most of the personnel will arrive either to stay and work or travel on to other stations and field camps. The cold was amazing, so crisp it reminded me so much of the winters back in Michigan ( or how they used to be ) and the darkness and the stars were so beautiful.. I hadn't seen the night sky so vivid since spending time at me parents vacation property in Northern Michigan when I was a teenager.

These aurora pictures, while not that great are the best my little camera could muster in the cold and in my shaking hands :-)

The green streaks lit up the sky...

Did yo uknow they can actually pulsate.. so so very amazing

These were only a small sample of the gorgeous night sky happenings I was able to witness.

Blurry view of the town ( McMurdo Station ) from Observation Hill ( OB Hill ) , again due largely to my shaking hands.

My first Polar Stratospheric Clouds more commonly called nacreous clouds, this is a small example but there were many times over the course of the season where they were massive and quite beautiful.

More Nacreous clouds

The Station early in summer as the sun is starting too peek above the horizon.. it's so much like dawn but will last for hours before it heads below the horizon again.

My send off cake!

My freinds back home are so awesome! even when they mock me with Costco cake

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

WOW!, have I been lazy

In can't beleive that I haven't posted anything on here since May of 2010, Sorry if I dissapointed any folks that were looking forward to some amazing pictures ( see above ) of my second and now third season on the Ice at McMurdo.

The above picture is of some of the amazing auroras I've been able to see down here this winter season, and it is most definately one of the things that has made staying for the winter worth every cold dark minute.

My summer season ( 2010-11) was alot of fun as well as a lot of work, the station was over capacity several times during the season with flights coming and going and the living quarters were quite close, having to share a small room with 3 others.

I will post pics from throughout the summer when I have my laptop hooked up the the network ( all my pics are on it ), there was alot more to see this year than my first season down, I was able to do a few boondoggles with one of them being to the South Pole ( that's where my new face pic is from )

Looking forward to updating this and hope everyone enjoys the pics as well as my run-on sentences and utter lack of proper punctuation.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sydney and the Chinese Gardens

By the time I got off the plane and caught a bus ( the right bus that is, I got some bad info from one of the drivers and it took my alomso 2 1/2 hours to get to my hostel) I was dead tired. I checked into my hostel , ran out to grab something to eat then crashed for the remainder of the night.

The next morning the woman at the desk told me about some of the closest things to see which were the Haymarket ( a large flea market / fruit market on the ground floor with a large shopping mall and food court on the upper floors ) which is the place to go to buy designer knock offs for cheap LOL.. also great for souveniers to pass out to family and friends.

Then there was Chinatown ( although I wouldn't limit it to just Chinese, there are tons of Thai, Koreans and Japanese in this asian section of town.) I passed through and kept going to Darling Harbor and on the way discovered the Chinese Freindship Garden, a massive enclosed garden in the middle of the city that was so incredibly quiet and peaceful you never would have known you were in the midst of a bustling metropolis.

Here is the Bonsai section of the Gardens, a large open roofed room filled with beautiful bonsai trees.

There are many building throughout the gardens all built in the same ornate chinese style and scattered among hills and waterfalls and bamboo forests.

The moon gate opened from the path into a serene little peninsula along the giant pond.

Me next to the rock formations that make up one of the many waterfalls in the gardens. After spending a few hours wandering through this maze of walkways I headed out and up to Darling Harbour , it's all pretty tourist but there ia the Sydney Aquarium there and an amazing naval museum with actual ship docked that you can go on board like a Schooner, Submarine, Battle ship, etc.
I also made it a point to stop for a reflexology massage on my way through China Town.. I hig;ly reccomend them when you're doing a hell of a lot of walking.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Christchurch, One more time!

This time back in Christchurch I had alot more time to kill since there was no rush for me to get to work anywhere. I did need to stay in town during my week there in order to have my bloddwork done for the next season ( I figured I'd get it done while I was there and let the company foot the bill ), if not for doing that I would have traveled the islands as many of my co-workers did.
The city has an amazing Botanical Gardens and I spent much time wandering through them.. it was quite helpful that the main gate was right across from the YMCA where I stayed. I booked a dorm room there so I had 5 other roomies during my stay but for only $18 a night I wasn't going to complain especially since most of my days were spent wandering around the city.
The annual garden festival was going on and there we're a huge number of special display throughout the city for the event, one of my favorites being the grass growing on the side of the museum with a lawn mower fastened to the builing as if it were mowing the grass.
I spent one day out at Brighton, a beach front suburb where I got to watch people crab fishing from the pier and others surfing in the early morning tide.
There are many statues scattered in Christchurchs various parks ( they have a lot of parks ) and here is a picture of the one deticated to Robert Scott , one of the original explorers racing to discover the Antarctic and make it to the South Pole. The photos of his hut from the early expeditions are among my post while on the ice.
I also spent much of my time blowing through my money ( not really ) by eating out( real food ) with many of my co-workers as they arrived throughout the week to Christchurch, there are so many truly fantastic restaurants with awesome food and great beer as well :-)
My time threre many not have sounded too exciting but I certainly enjoyed myself, it's a beautiful city in a beautiful country and I can't wait to go back and explore it even more.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

OMG! I have been so lazy!!

During my travels back to the States I got so lazy as far as keeping up with my Blog and adding pictures so now I'm gonna back track and post in order from when I left the Ice ( Antarctica ) until what I'm doing now... I will have to do it in several posts though LOL

Unfortunately the weather at the station had become rather crappy my last days there and I wasn't able to do much as far as hiking.. I pretty much spent the days deciding what I wanted to keep with me to travel what I wanted to leave there and what I wanted to mail back home. I ended up mailing back two suitcases full of uneeded clothing and souveniers which definately lighted my load, I really didn't want to drag all that stuff through new Zealand and Australia.
The pics I put on here are of the Emperor penguin that wandered onto the runway the day of my flight.. the firemen had to keep shooing it away so that it wasn't in the path of the plane ( I wonder if it was a sign that it didn't want me to go LOL )
Then there is what I'll refer to as the preflight lounge.. we all had to stand out on the runway waiting for the plane to land before we could leave.. I think they could have at least offered us some cocoa or shots of whiskey ( it was and 9 degrees and the wind was kicking )
Next pic is of Rachel the baking assistant at McMurdo and one of my favorite people to work with, she had gotten the job there after graduating for the Baking and Pastry program at Johnson and Wales... the type of culinary school I only wish I could have afforded. I'm hoping to be on the first flights back there in August so that I can see her again.. she's such a happy and positive person.
That's me in my parka waiting for the plane.. I had to stand behind the Terrabus to block the wind from blowing my hood down. Brrrrrr
And finally there is the sun as it's slowing working it's way down the horizon, it won't be full darkness till like mid-April and from the weather reports I see that it's getting progressively colder ( -30 with the wind right now )
I left the ice and 5 short hours later landed in Christchurch , New Zealand of course the plane didn't get in until almost midnight and then we all had to turn in out work uniforms and cold weather gear before being shuttled to our various hotels for some well deserved rest in comfy queen beds rather than the little twins we had all become used to.