05 February 2009

Discovery Hut and Ob Hill Loop

It's hard to believe I've been here for two weeks now.  It's been a good stay overall.  I've gotten around the laptop issues at the weather office.  Last night my ethernet connection mysteriously worked, and still does, at the forecast office with a different cable.  I'm going to try that cable in my room tonight.  My sinuses are finally getting back to normal...I think it is the X-tremely dry air here that sets them off.  Last night the wind shifted to northwesterly (really for the first time this trip), which brings in much moister air, as there is open water not too far north of here.  Much to my dismay I got a new roommate last Monday night...after the previous one moved out last week Friday I assumed with this place clearing out that I would not get another one.  However there are a lot of "transit" passengers through McMurdo these days, with the outlying camps closing down.  He seems like a nice guy, and might be out of here on Friday.  The big cargo ship American Tern arrived in port on Tuesday morning, with winter supplies.  There are a lot of Navy cargo handlers at the base these days working on that.  While the ship is in port, the station store has drastically reduced hours, alcohol sales there are halted, and the bars are closed.  

Here are some pictures and descriptions of two short excursions I went on last week.  Last Wednesday night I took a tour of the Discovery Hut, which is maybe a mile from McMurdo on Hut Point.  This structure was built in 1901 by Scott’s Discovery expedition, and used later by Scott’s Terra Nova expedition, and two of Shackleton’s expeditions.  The Americans dug it out in the late 1950’s when they built McMurdo.  It was originally built in Australia.  Over the years it has been pillaged, and now is locked and only opened for tours like the one I went on.  Even with the age and vandalism, it is extremely well preserved.  The first sight (and smell) when one walks inside is a rotting seal, left over from one of the expeditions.  With the perennially cold temperatures, it is somewhat preserved, although it was a bit “thawed”, to put it nicely, when I was in there, as it had been above freezing for several days in January.  This building was mainly used for storage and rendezvous, especially with the later expeditions, so it is mainly filled with supplies.  Here are some pictures from inside:

Then, last Friday night (actually Saturday morning, it was around 2 AM), I did the Ob Hill loop trail.  There are several trails around the base, and like Hut Point, this is one I never did last time for some reason.  It goes around Observation Hill, which I climbed last time, and is only a couple miles long.  It is quite blustery on the southward-facing portion on the first half of the trail.  But after I rounded the peninsula point, I was sheltered and it was much more comfortable.  It’s a great view southward of White Island, Black Island, Minna Bluff, and the associated cloud formations.  The trail ends on the road between McMurdo and Scott Base, so I just walked back to McMurdo, watching the night crews at work.  Here are some pictures from that:


On the next post I will have some pictures of my field trips to automatic weather stations at Pegasus and Williams airfields. 


Cooler Brian said...

What were you up at 2 AM for? Sounds pretty x-treme. MAC tickets just came in the mail yesterday, I'm excited!

Anonymous said...

how cool to be out at 2 am and have it be light out!! We are enjoying your posts...hope you will really celebrate on Sunday. Sorry we can be with you to celebrate your birthday.


GoBrewersGo said...

I usually work from 1 PM to 1 AM, and wasn't tired that night, so I went out for a walk. See you at the Q come March!