Technically, it’s November 1st, 2011 here on the ice.
I have survived the first major holiday in Antarctica. More about Halloweird in a post to come. This post is going to be about the beauty of Antarctica. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. There is no place on earth like the Ice. I recently have decided to get a little “artsy” in my landscape photography and have converted to black and white photos. Ah, the wonders of digital cameras.
The pictures that I’m attaching, some of you will probably recognize from other posts. My favorite place so far to just hang out, relax, clear my head (oh and look for seals) is Hut Point (Discovery Hut).
From Wikipedia –
Discovery Hut was built by Robert Falcon Scott during the Discovery Expedition of 1901–1904 in 1902 and is located at Hut Point on Ross Island by McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Visitors to Antarctica, arriving at either the US Base at McMurdo or New Zealand’s Scott Base are likely to encounter Discovery Hut as all three are located on Hut Point. Discovery Hut is just 300m from McMurdo Base.
Some confusion arises because Discovery Hut can correctly be referred to as Scott’s Hut, in that his expedition built it, and it was his base ‘ashore’ during the 1901–1904 expedition. But the title ‘Scott’s Hut’ correctly belongs to the building erected in 1911 at Cape Evans.
Regarding Preservation of Discovery Hut –
Shackleton advised future Antarctic explorers on the state of the hut after the Ross Sea party left it:
The stores placed there in 1902 are intact. There are a few cases of extra provisions and oil in the hut, but no sleeping gear, or accommodation, nor stoves, and it must not be looked upon as anything else than a shelter and a most useful pied-à-terre for the start of any Southern journey. No stores nor any equipment have been taken from it during either of my two Expeditions.
However after Shackleton left the hut in 1917 it remained untouched until 1956 when US expeditioners dug it out of the snow and ice. It was found to be in a remarkable state of preservation, and included many artifacts from both the earlier expeditions. While some artifacts were taken as souvenirs at the time (and since), this hut remained largely as it was in 1917.
New Zealand and the UK have undertaken responsibility at various times since the 1970s to restore (largely removing snow and ice) both Scott’s hut and Discovery Hut .
While the preservation of food in the freezing temperatures and dry climate has been noted, bacterial decay still occurs. Visitors describe the seal meat preserved at the Discovery Hut as smelling ‘quite rancid’, and there are concerns that the fabric of these huts are being affected by fungal decay . Both Scott’s Hut and Shackleton’s Hut have been included on the World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites..
I haven’t been inside of the Hut yet, but I’m hoping to team up with one of the tour guides (also a fellow photographer) and do a “photography tour” of the hut.
Just outside of Discovery Hut is Vincent’s Cross. From http://www.coolantarctica.com –
George Vince is the first man to have lost his life in McMurdo Sound, he was one of a party of nine men who had caught out in a blizzard during an excursion from the Discovery. Instead of staying where they were and waiting for the storm to end, they decided to try to make their way back to the ship.
Vince was wearing fur-soled boots with very little grip and wandered onto a snow slope which he slipped down before falling over the cliffs at their end into the sea. The slope was later known as “Danger Slopes”, his body was never recovered. He is commemorated by a wooden cross erected by the crew and men of the Discovery that is maintained to this day by the New Zealand and US bases in McMurdo Sound.
The above statement is the reason I stick to well worn paths. I don’t need any crosses commemorating my experience here at McMurdo.