Saturday, December 8, 2007

December 9th, 2007
McMurdo Station Antarctica
Time: 3 pm
Latitude: 77° 50' South
Longitude: 166° 49.10' East
Temperature: 5°C (42°F)
Wind speed: 3km/h (11 mph)
Wind Chill:
Clouds: sunny
Wind direction: East
Relative Humidity:
Barometric Pressure: rising
Precipitation: 0

Finally made it!!!! On December 7th we had our flight moved to 9 pm, which was delayed another couple hours but we finally took off and landed in Antarctica around 7 am. Then more unpacking and briefings until about noon. After that we tried to unwind but it was difficult after not much sleep on the C-17. I tried to get acclimated quickly by taking a walk up Observation Peak. Famous for its connection to Robert Scott's 1912 expedition to Antarctica and their try at being the first to reach the South Pole. They did make it to the pole but when they arrived they found evidence that Amundsen had beaten them to the pole by just a few weeks. On the way back the trekking party all perished a few miles form their next cache of food and fuel. On Observation Peak is a cross to commemorate their journey.

That evening after supper Sylvia, Rebecca, Inger, and I went for a ski. We took a shuttle over near the New Zealand base only 2 miles away and skied the "road" to the airport called Willy's Field. We did not make it all the way to Willy's field but had a great ski certainly when the wind was at our backs. Into the wind is a bit of a struggle. Inger had her ski kit with her and did a fabulous job of being pulled by the wind with our being pulled over. The wind increased and got to ~25 knots. A bit strong to ski and sail. Sylvia also tried the kite and did very well. They are all fantastic skiers and it was nice to ski-skate across the flat and relatively soft sea ice. The ice there is about 6 meters think (18 ft.) so plenty think to support us and the airplanes that land near there.

I finally got tired enough to sleep around midnight and had a great 8 hours of rest. Today is very sunny and warm and I made a quick walk up Observation Peak again. This morning I could see Mt Erebus, all the way to the open ocean, and across the Ross Ice Shelf to the Royal Society Mountain Range. Another quick meeting, sorting and packing more gear and I am off for another nice ski. Since it is warm and very sunny and the wind is not very strong it Will be a terrific time to be on skis. First I will stop by the craft fair that residents of McMurdo are holding in the galley. Maybe some Christmas presents in there for us somewhere.

The images are -
The view out of the C-17 window as we reached Antarctica, a shoot of me on the top of Ob Hill outside McMurdo Station with Mt Erebus in the background, and the view of McMurdo form the top of Ob Hill.

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