Friday, January 29, 2010

Boon Doggle

BOONDOGGLE: [ boon-dog-uhl]
-noun ;
1: A product of simple manual skill such as aplaited leather cord or knife sheath, made typically by a camper or a scout.
2: A work of little or no value designed to keep or make you look busy.
3: A project funded by the Federal Government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation.
( courtesy of ) I'll say mine was #2
On the ice a boondoggle is typically a morale trip designed so that staff can get away from the town for a bit and enjoy the scenery. The one I got to go on is called " room with a view" and everyone goes by snow mobile up to the base of the Mt Erebus Volcano where (on a clear day ) the view is reported to be phenominal.
The day I got to go it was overcast for the ride out but it was still fun since I had never driven a snow mobile before ( I had to buddy up with one of the Kiwi Firefighters on a machine) it was alot of fun. The clouds broke for a time when we reached the Base and I would have gotten more pictures if my camera batteries hadn't died.
While there we drank all drank cocoa and some of the guys played frisbee while others took pictures of the surrounding glacier toungue and mountains.. even the islands out on the sea were slightly visible.
That is most likely the only one I'll get to go on since my days here are numbered with just 16 bmore to go :-(

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ice Rugby 2010

The 10th annual Antarctic Rugby Match was a couple weekends ago. It was the US Base against the New Zealand Base and as always NZ won it ( Hell, it's their sport ), it was a great game none the less.
Unlike most rugby matches the game was played on the frozen ice sheets that doubles as a airfield in the colder months.
Unfortunately I had to work but I got these great pics and heard all about the game from other on the station.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Penguins YAY!!

I finally got to see penguins and it was all by accident, I had just returned to my room after a long work day and out the window happened to see a group of people standing on the shore...and since the seals had gotten boring I figured there must be some thing more interesting to see. I grabbed on of the mountain bikes we have for use on base and high tailed it down to Hut Point , sure enough there playing ( well some were playing and others were sleeping ) were about a dozen Ade lie Penguins. I was happy to see them and thought I had missed out on the opportunity when the Emperor Penguins were spotted out by the airfield ( could get a shuttle driver to stop for me and when they finally offered sign ups to get driven out to see them , the sheets filled up right away DAMMIT .

Anyway, I'm glad I got to see them and maybe with some luck I'll get to see more before I leave.. the icebreaker came in on Monday and broke up huge path in the sea for the scheduled supply ships to come into.

They have warned us that some of the longshoremen that come in to unload the boats are kinda shady and to be sure to keep your stuff locked up ( things tend to disappear during the offload ). I got some shots of the icebreaker ( OD EN- from Norway , what a shocker of a name for a boat from Norway LOL )that I have yet to take off my camera but I will post soon.

That's it for today, just some dancing penguins.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010



O.K. it's a bunch of bands that have managed to form here on the ice,some people bring instrument with them and there is also a band room on the station where you can go play borrowed instruments or there is the gear issue where you can check out instruments.
The music was pretty great and the atmosphere was very outdoor music festival ( t-shirts for sale, face painting, tye dyeing, free chili, brats, and hamburgers as well as Baileys in your coffee YAY! ( beer you had to buy :-P )
The whole thing ran from 12 - 6 , after that the bands moved indoors to either the coffehouse or gallaghers ( one of the bars ) and the music when on till 11 ish
There was also a make shift game of Cornhole courtesy of the carpenter shop ( CARP SHOP )
Between bands there was dancing and and a well staged battle between the resident robot and ninja factions... who knew there were so many robots and ninjas running amok at the end of the world??

Friday, January 1, 2010

Fun with Pegasus

I was off work on Thusday and had the opportunity to go out and do some volunteer work at the Pegasus runway which is McMurdos airstrip for all the heavy aircraft to use once the summer weather warms up and the sea ice runway is no longer safe to use.
It's named after the plane that crashed there in the 70s, and the story goes like this:
October 1970, a C-121J constellation called "pegasus" crashed onto the McMurdo airfield during a Condition One storm ( during condition one storms , people on base are confined to the buildings they are in until the storm subsides, there is usually visibilty limeted to 100 feet or less, winds at 55 knots or greater, tempuratures equalling -100 degrees F )with zero visibility. the flight had already passed it's point of safe return , so it didn't have enough fuel to get back to New Zealand, after circling for hours hoping for conditions to change they tried to put the plane down as safely as they could and ended up plowing into a snow bank caused by the high winds which spun the plane around tearing off it's propellers, engines and the entire right wing.. no one was killed in the crash.
The wreckage is still laying there to this day the majority of it buried in snow and ice with just the rear tail standing high above the drifts about a mile and a half from where the currently used runway is today.
The pictures are from Pegasus, I don't have a picture of the actual crash since you're not allowed to be by it and we could only be in proximity because of the clean up detail we were on. After the crash they used the surrounding area to dump random trash and burn garbage, not it's up to the environmental department do organize clean ups of the old sites like that. They tell me plans are in the works to finally remove the Pegasus crash wreckage.
In the distance there is a picture of Mt. Erebus, the closest active volcano to the station and the smoke coming off the top is easily seen thanks to the fantastic weather that day. The tiny red box with tank treads is a Pitt Bullie, that is what we rode in coming from the main runway to the wreckage site.. it sure isn't built for comfort LOL.
I'm not sure what kind of plane is in the picture but it is one of the smaller ones used to fly people into the smaller field camps out on the ice surrounding the station where they do various research, ice drilling and the like.
I also learned that I need to apply more sunscreen, I got a hell of a burn on my face working all afternoon out in the bright sun with all the reflective snow.. I'm not accustomed to pasting it on so heavy since I work in the galley and my outdoors time is typically limited.
I'll add the link to the Antarctic Sun Newspaper for those that want followialong with current happenings down here.
Thanks for stopping by and don't forget the sunscreen!