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Antarctic conservation

September 22, 2010
1

Posted by Cricket


Date: 22 September 2010
Temperature: -16 C
Wind Speed: 40 knots
Temp with wind chill: -43C
Sunrise: 6:33
Sunset: 19:03

 

On one clear and calm Sunday morning, several of us from New Zealand's Scott Base geared up with food and clothing, piled into the Hagglund and headed to Cape Evans for a day visit.  Cape Evans is the site of R.F Scott’s Terra Nova Hut, which was built in January 1911 as a base camp for his second and last Antarctic tour.  A lot of incredible stories come from this expedition, including Edward Wilson’s winter trek with two other men to an Emperor penguin colony at Cape Crozier and Scott’s attainment of the South Pole.  Unfortunately, Scott and his men all perished on the return.


It was a two hour trip that took us out over the sea ice and following the coast of Ross Island.  Due to a huge glacier in our path, we stopped short of the site and hiked the rest of the way in, taking the route that Scott’s men would have traversed.

WindVane Hill.jpg


Windvane Hill © AHT/Cricket


Our first look at the camp was from high up on Windvane Hill, where a cross stands commemorating 3 members of Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1916) who died in the vicinity in 1916.   We then hiked down and around the hut, admiring what a picturesque and well situated spot it is.  Finally, we unlocked the hut door and slowly stepped into the dim interior.  What a magnificent sight.  As I have often heard, it really does retain the remarkable feeling of Scott’s men having just stepped out.

Terra Nova Hut.jpg
Terra Nova Hut © AHT/Cricket


We quietly worked through the hut, studying the long, well-photographed dinner table, the bunks with handwriten notes and pictures drawn on the boards, and the galley stacked with jars and tins of food.  Without discussion, both Diana and I refrained from taking any pictures.  When talking about it afterwards, we found that we both wanted only the memory of our first visit.

2

Ration Bag

Posted by Cricket and Diana Sep 22, 2010

Posted by Diana

 

Date: 21 September 2010
Temperature: -20 Celsius
Wind Speed: 25 knots
Temp with wind chill: -40 degrees c
Sunrise: 6:48
Sunset 18:49

 

This week I worked on an interesting artefact. It was a ration bag which would generally have held food product for the members of Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition 1910-1913. However, this bag turned out to have rocks and a tiny folded piece of paper. On the paper was a pencil written note that said Moraine Ferrar G.

 

AHT8298_1!_Side2_BT.jpg

 

Before treatment  © AHT/Diana

 

 

ration bag2.JPG

After treatment © AHT/Diana


We forwarded this information to Natalie, a curator at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand, who has a wealth of information about Antarctic exploration and is familiar with the hand writing of the members of Scott’s party. On first impression Natalie’s “ thought was it was Debenham's writing - he went to the Ferrar January 1911 and then again later in the expedition. He also wrote extensively on the Ferrar region after the expedition”.  Frank Debenham was on Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition of 1910-1913.This information would have to be confirmed by hand writing comparison with other identified Debenham manuscripts and is best done using the originals in both cases but still very exciting.

 

IMG_0273.jpg

So what started out as a very ordinary treatment proved very rewarding seeing the actual hand writing from what could be one of Scott’s expedition members.