Monday, February 1, 2010

Christmas on Ice, Part 4 - Scott Base

Arriving back at Scott Base after 10 days in the field was absolutely wonderful, if a little shocking. Hot showers, other people, no need to spend hours melting snow into water so you don't dehydrate the next day, flush toilets. Ahhhhhh, all we had to do before we could enjoy any of that (except of course the toilets) was clean up all our gear. . .

Clean up included washing and drying all sleeping bags, all dishes, all cook boxes, stoves and cutlery, emptying food boxes of any leftovers, airing the tents and then putting it all away. Oh yeah, and someone had to deal with all the shit.

Finally we could enjoy the pleasures of the kitchen. . .

the common room. . .

and yes, even the hallways that connect everything together.

Of course, with McMurdo Station only a 2km walk away, a trip over (or two) was essential, if only to visit the gift shop ;) Observation hill is the tall mountain-like thing on the left.

McMurdo is very different from Scott Base. Mostly it's just bigger.

And a little bit messier.

But it has a really cool collection of weird and wonderful toys to play with. We were lucky enough to catch the tail end of an art show that took place at the carpentry shop there. Chrissie and I are demonstrating the joys of a homemade seesaw.

Someone had also made one of those cool executive desk bouncing ball type thingys out of bowling balls. It was cool.

It was amazing to see and experience the differences between Scott Base and McMurdo. Where Scott Base reminded me more of a mining or exploration camp with its tight knit community and completely self-suficient lay out, McMurdo reminded more of a mining town, sprawling, mucky, and big, everything there was big. You can see Discovery Hut in the foreground here, unfortunately, due to proximity to people, this hut has been heavily looted.

The view of McMurdo from atop Observation Hill. The big white circle tanks are holding all the fuel needed for Scott Base and McMurdo to run for a year, including petrol, diesel, and jet fuel.

Scott Base on the walk home from McMurdol. So different.

Just a pretty picture of the pressure ridges around Scott Base.

Why didn't they show this to me earlier? It so would have helped me avoid all the awkward situations I had with penguins on my trip. I thought he just wanted to dance.

Sign says it all. The building in the background is the kitchen and common room.

Erebus out beyond the pressure ridges on the day we left. A lovely farewell from a cold continent.
Everyone waiting for the plane to park.

Then we were off. Back into the great, grey warehouse, into the sky and home again.

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