Sunday, March 1, 2015

Antarctic Summer Season's End

Shortly after the New Year is when we start seeing ships enter the McMurdo Sound area.  The first to arrive is always the US Coast Guard to cut a channel in to the sea ice.  This year that Ship was the Polar Sea, which is shown in the photo below.

The next ship to arrive was the scientific research vessel the Nathaniel B. Palmer.  They were here for several days taking on provisions and swapping out crew & researchers.

The Ocean Giant, shown here is our resupply ship which brought us everything needed to keep the stationing running for another year.   You can the ship is stacked full of 20' & 40' containers.  It took 5 days to get the ship offloaded and then several more days to get it loaded back up with waste from the previous year, science samples and anything else needing to be shipped back to New Zealand or the States.  Our part during this operation was to receive and build all the new cargo for the South Pole Station and get it to them before the last flight on February 13th.

Last week we had a visit from the cruise ship The Spirit of Enderby.  They anchored off the station and brought around 50 passengers to town to get a tour.

One of our favorite things about being here this time of year is the changing light.  Here are a few photos we took last week of the sun shining through the clouds on the Royal Society Range.  These were taken from our room window.

Saturday February 28th was supposed to be the last flight of the season.  We awoke to a beautiful day and were excited to think that the next day we would be waking up to 80 degree weather in Christchurch.  Unfortunately the plane that was to come and get us had mechanical problems and needed parts shipped in from overseas.  That meant at the earliest they wouldn't be launching until Monday.  We tried to make the best of it and went for a walk to Hut Point.  Here are some photos we took that day.

Kelly by Vince's Cross.

The dark object in front of the mountains, is an Iceberg floating in McMurdo Sound.
Here's a photo of us by Captain Scott's Hut.  It was a nice sunny day, but the wind was bitter cold.

The plane to pick us up took off this morning (March 2th), but returned to Christchurch with another mechanical problem.  At this point they are supposed to try again tomorrow morning.  Wish us luck!!!