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Author: Marie

Date: 5/05/2013

Temperature: -25

Wind Speed: 10 knots

Temperature with wind chill: -30

Sunrise: n/a

Sunset: n/a

 

Last Suday to enjoy the last minutes of daylight we went for a walk that is quite famous here: Castle Rock loop. The track starts from McMurdo station, which is just over the hill, goes nice and flat to Castle rock (where we went for our first day out and also for the last sunset), comes down along the "Kiwi ski field" (open in summer but now closed). It's supposed to be a 5 to 8 hour journey, but in winter you would probably hike the loop in about 4 hours. It's too cold to stop moving or walking for long. Your camera freezes quickly if you spend too much time setting it. Alternatively, your battery goes flat quickly too if you take the camera out of your warm pocket too often.

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Jamie and Molly in their winter gear

 

We still manage several breaks, at every emergency rescue station we pass by. Our American neighbours have two red domes that look half like a metal igloo, half like space craft. One of them has even got an old style phone. Overwintering Americans have also built a real igloo (out of ice bricks) where we had our first tea break out of a thermos bottle.

 

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United State Antarctic Program Emergency Shelter

 

Down the Kiwi ski field there is a green bubble, the Antarctica New Zealand emergency shelter, where we had our last tea break before finishing our journey. The track is flagged all the way and very secure. Despite the grey weather, we enjoyed a pale light, and even some blue sky around 2pm. It was warm for Antarctica, only -25 and with almost no wind.

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After a one-day delay, we left for Antarctica. It was a beautiful hot summer day in Christchurch and it felt a little bit strange to change into our Extreme Weather survival gear. We had check-in at 6.30 pm. After check-in there is always a safety briefing before everybody is driven to the C17 airplane.

 

                                                                                          Check-in for Antarctica

 

 

 

 

 

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The operations are shared between the New Zealand and US Antarctic Program.In the C17 there was a lot of cargo including some rather larger rotor blades.  Most of the passengers usually sit a long the sides… which is actually quite comfortable. We even get a brown bag lunch with yummy sandwiches, crisps and chocolate.

 

                                                                                 On the way to the C17 aircraft

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                                                                               In front of the C17 at Christchurch airport

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We left at 9 pm from Christchurch and got there just after 3 am in the night. It has been relatively warm on Ross Island lately with temperatures around 0 degree. Therefore, the flights are currently arriving during the hours of the day, when the temperatures are likely the lowest to prevent any damage on the ice runway.

                                                                                     Inside the C17

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When we arrived it was cloudy but not very windy nor cold. ….. At the moment there is 24-hour sunlight in Antarctica. It took 1 hour to get from the landing strip to Scott Base. The landing strip is on the ice shelf.

                                                                               Arrival in Antarctica

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At arrival we had a short welcome briefing and went to bed.At Scott base usually 3-4 people share a room. The windows have wooden shutters to block out the sunlight at night. The rooms are really comfortable.

 

 

                                                                                        bed rooms in  Scott Base

 

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                                                                                     View from the bed room

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     The next three weeks I will be doing fieldwork under New Zealand Antarctica Program (Antarctica New Zealand), and I am now based at Scott Base. It is a great place. Everybody is really nice and the food is always great!


Scott Base is located on Ross Island and is only a 35-minute walk from the McMurdo Station.  Since 2009, Scott Base is obtaining its energy from three windmills that are located above Scott Base on Crater Hill. Over the austral summer it is busting with activity: renovations, construction work and many science projects.


                                                                                                    Scott Base

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