Hike. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. This has been the way of things so far, as flights to the South Pole have been delayed due to bad weather. One of the flights yesterday to the South Pole boomeranged. It flew all the way to the station, circled twice, the pilots decided they couldn’t land safely, and so they flew all the way back here to McMurdo.
So as I wait for someone to tell me when to “bag drag” up the hill so they can pack my stuff into a cargo pallet for my own flight out, there’s plenty to do here to keep entertained. Yesterday, my first whole day down here, I had yet another info session to attend, went to the clinic to be prescribed some Sudafed for my cold, filed my request for travel reimbursements, wrote a few emails, watched some Project Runway, and then decided to get out and explore! I only went for a 40-minute walk down to Scott’s hut, which is currently being restored, and up the hill to where there’s a statue of Mary, “Our Lady of the Snow.” It was a beautiful sunny day, and 10˚F with no wind chill.
I was so dumbfounded with the scenery yesterday that I forgot to look for wildlife, so today I went with my friends from the BICEP project (also stuck here at McMurdo, waiting to go to South Pole), and we hiked up to Arrival Heights to take in the scenery. Then we marched back downhill to Hut Point again to look for some seals. I’ll let the pictures do most of the explaining.
The landscape here is so unreal. And we did see several Weddell seals! They’re gigantic! And they look super hilarious when they inch themselves around on the ice.
In search of even more things to do here, we went to the Crary building where all the science teams hold their offices. We saw their aquarium downstairs where they have experiments running on local organisms brought back by the SCUBA divers, and I got to touch this cool thing called a Sea Lemon. Then we marched back upstairs and I geeked out over Mt. Erebus geology—it’s the southernmost active volcano. Of course if we’re stuck here any longer I’m going to crawl around this building and ask people to let me help them with their research! There’s also a science lecture tonight that I’m going to go check out. So much cool stuff going on!
One thing I don’t understand is why you would want to eat ice cream here—but loads of people are super excited about it for some reason. They have an ice cream dispenser here like the ones at Northeastern in the dining halls. I heard the ice cream is better at the Pole. Why the eff would I want ice cream when it’s -20˚F outside? Maybe my mind will change.
I’m probably on flight 3 or 4 down to the Pole, but who knows when they’re leaving since flight 1 has been delayed for a week now and they still haven’t made it. I’m bombarding you all with posts today because goodness knows when I’ll next be able to! The internet here at McMurdo is available 24/7 but it’s rather slow. Who knows what it will be like at the South Pole.
Well, that’s all for now my darlings! Sending my love from Planet Hoth ❤