my trip to the Antarctica and the South Pole

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

R&R in Club Mac

Today is day 4 of my week-long vacation in McMurdo station, and I'm working. I'm not complaining though, because the work I'm doing here today is prep for the trip north to Christchurch, New Zealand, where I'll be for the next 10 days. Well, that's the plan anyway. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the weather is going to cooperate. The flight I've been bumped to has been trying to leave every day since Tuesday now. A weather system the size of texas is sitting over the Ross Ice shelf, with winds too high for planes to land. All this just after the new ice runway here was finally finished, and we were looking forward to getting our long delayed Christmas packages and fresh fruits and veggies. The weather system also brought in a novelty for Antarctica: SNOW! Believe it or not, snow hardly ever falls here, and when it does, it's usually just small crystals. Yesterday was a full-on homestyle blizzard with accumulating snow. It was the first they've had here all season, and even more of a treat for us Polies who hardly *ever* see the white stuff falling.

Yesterday I got to tour the US Coast Guard Polar Star Icebreaker vessel, which is docked here awaiting repairs before it can go out to finish it's job of cutting a channel through the ice for the cargo vessel. The vessel brings all the needed supplies for winter to McMurdo, where it's then flown to Pole. A russian ice breaker is even on call to do the channel breaking if our ice breaker can't do the job, or is held up too long for repairs. There's a big challenge this year because a huge ice berg is blocking much of the channel and causing a trap for the ice.

Pics of R&R so far are at


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