Since we arrived in Antarctic, the weather has been dismal. Wind gusts average 30 MPH, and temperatures hover around -30 to -40. Because of the weather, most flights have been delayed. Our team is hoping that the weather clears up by Tuesday so we can depart on our first service mission. However, we are on stand-by while other flights crucial to McMurdo Station take priority.
During this downtime my adventurous nature has led me to explore Ross Island. First, I ventured to Discovery Hut. There Robert Falcon Scott, one of the first men to make it to the South Pole during the years of 1901–1904, utilized this hut as his base camp. In 1956, When McMurdo Station was being built; explorers excavated the hut from the snow and ice. Shockingly, it was found to be in a remarkable state of preservation, and virtually untouched since 1917.
After my visit to Discovery Hut, I hiked around the Arrival Heights area to see McMurdo from a different perspective. Realizing the conditions were not safe, as it was -40, I did not get very far before I had to abort mission and retreat back to base.
By far the most interesting part of my adventure was hiking the pressure ridges by Scott Base, (the New Zealanders base station). The pressure ridges are caused by the ice of the Ross Sea colliding with the Shore of Ross Island forcing the ice up into amazing features. I could see very clearly the deep blue ice with cracks stretching tens of feet down. Although this is a beautiful location, it is extremely dangerous to hike. Tragically, I did not have the correct filter on my camera for this environment so the picture is only sub-par. If however it were sunny, the blue of the ice would have been captured more prevalently.
The adventure continues tomorrow, as the weather looks good for our first servicing mission to stations nine and possibly ten. During our time in Antarctica, we will service a total of 15 stations, not in chronological order. I cannot wait to experience the beauty of Antarctica again.