Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Few Days in Christchurch

Sunday afternoon we were invited to join a few others from our department at the home of Leighton Cameron, the head of the Christchurch Travel Office, for a cookout with some of his staff. It was a nice chance to visit with people we work with during the season in a relaxed atmosphere.

Here's a photo of Amy & Billy T.
Kelly & Susie
Susie & Kelly watching Leighton on the grill
Here's Nichole, Natasha, Lisa, Amy Craig & Melanie enjoying drinks in Leighton's backyard.
Our blog wouldn't be complete without the annual flower photos from the Botanical Gardens. We hope everyone can appreciate how nice it is to see & smell flowers after 4-1/2 months in Antarctica.
This piece of art was staged in front of the museum at the entrance to the Botanical Gardens. Yes, it's real grass and a real lawnmower.

Leaving McMurdo

Friday February 19 was the day we sometimes felt would never come.... it was the day we left McMurdo and headed back to Christchurch.

There were two planes that arrived that day to take 169 passengers back to Christchurch. We opted to fly on the Australian Airbus over the C-17 as we'd never flown on it before and it was a much more comfortable ride.
Here we are on the airbus in our first class seats. There were only 28 first class seats for the 69 people on our flight, but since we work in the department that handles the passengers and cargo we got seats in the first row.
Not only were we thrilled with all the leg room we had on this flight, but it was also a treat to have windows. There was a lot of cloud cover during most of the flight, but here are two shots of the mountain tops peeking through the clouds.
The clouds did break as we got to the edge of the continent. Here are a few photos of Cape Adare.
Here's Kelly enjoying a car magazine and the comfort of the Airbus.
We had a view of the beautiful sunset from the plane....the first sunset we had seen in 4-1/2 months.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Changing Landscape of McMurdo

There have been a lot of changes around town this season. Four buildings were torn down and the process of painting all the buildings to one color has begun.

NSF chose the color of blue shown here on building 155. It's such a large building that this is the only one completed this season. We've heard they would like to get possibly 20 more buildings painted next season. It's certainly going to change the look of the place having everything one color.These next two photos are of the demolition of building 83. This used to house our weight gym, bowling alley, bouldering cave, ceramics lab and craft room. The bowling alley and ceramics lab were truly missed this season as they were both very popular and heavily used.
The next two photos are of buildings 175 and 126, both of which were on a hill sitting above town. The first photo shows building 175, which was used as storage over the past number of years.
This photo shows what's left of building 126. This building was heated and used for storing "do not freeze" items. We used to store a lot of cargo here that was DNF for the South Pole station.
Now most of those items will remain in Christchurch over the winter and won't be flown down until they are needed at Pole.