Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 25, 2008
McMurdo Antarctica

Time: 10 am
Latitude: 77° 50 S
Longitude: 166° 49.10’ E
Elevation: 34 m (112’)
Temperature: -3°C (7 °F)
Wind speed: 33 km/h (21 mp/h)
Wind Chill: -25°C (-12°F)
Visibility: mostly cloudy, low ceiling
Clouds: stratus
Wind direction: SSE
Relative Humidity: 63%
Barometric Pressure: falling
Precipitation: - occasional flurries
Animals: 24 Skuas, dozens of Weddell seals in McMurdo - including pups, no penguins yet, 1 whale sighting
Breakfast: eggs, bagels, juice, coffee
Lunch: mac and cheese
Supper: lamb, potatoes, mixed veggies, pumpkin pie
**Since we are in McMurdo there are four or five entrees at every meal

We did our bag drag last night to prepare for our flight today. Bag drag means that we took all our gear, except of ECW
gear (Extreme Cold Weather) and one carry-on bag to be weighed and
packaged for the flight. The pilots need to know exactly how much
weight they will be flying with on every flight around and to/from
Antarctica. Once we weighed our gear we gave it up to the baggage folks
to package and ship out to the runway for loading. We kept our
toiletries, one set of town clothes, and ourECW gear out to use until
the flight. If the flight is canceled we need to have clothes to wear
until the flight does go, whenever that is. We will not see our checked
bags again until we land in Christchurch New Zealand. The temperature
in town (and onthe flight) is relatively warm but we are required to have our ECW gear with us most of the time.

The rest of the day we will spend writing, walking around McMurdo,
napping, reading, playing cribbage, or just hanging-out until we leave
for Willy’s Field and our plane. We will take a C-17 back to New
Zealand instead of the C-130 we take around Antarctica. The C-17s have
a little more room with comfortable seats than the C-130s. It will
still be a 5 + hour flight “off the ice” and we will not arrive until
late, possibly even Saturday morning. We are taken to theUSAP Clothing
Distribution Center (CDC) where we will return the clothing and gear we
were issued for the program and then we will be released to wander off
and explore NZ and/or return home. It will be even later that morning
when we finally get to our hotels and recover from the late flight.
Rumor is that there is aBon Jovi concert in Christchurch so it might be an exciting weekend in town with all the additional tourists.

still have not seen any penguins though I did find a flock of Skua and
many more seals. The day started very nice but soon turned very
blustery and cancelled any hope of a big hike today to the top of
Castle Rock. Another trip to Hut Point and up Ob Hill were all the
outdoor activities I was able to accomplish.

The images I have for you today are a photo of an old time photo of McMurdo taken during a very early expedition (this image hangs in the galley) and a picture of McMurdo taken this last December 2007. Both are taken from Hut Point looking back towards Ob Hill. In the old McMurdo picture you can see three sailing ships in McMurdo harbor with Ob hill in the background. In the modern picture you can see the station as it exists today.


Anna said...

To Zach,

Hope you reach New Zealand safely, and your home here in Maine. I've really enjoyed reading your blog daily, and have really learned a lot. For that, thank you.
I've also talked with my global science teacher, and I would like to invite you to my high school as a guest speaker when you return. I think that my peers would enjoy and benefit from hearing about your trip and what you do for a career. I know I'm very eager to meet you and talk to you in person.

Thanks Again & Travel Safely,
Camden Hills Regional High School

zach said...

Hi Anna,

It would be exciting for me to meet you and talk at Camden Hills. I am still In NZ but will be home in a few days and we can set a date. Thanks, Talk to you..