Cape Evans, Antarctica. Part 2

Howdy again everyone.  It’s been a busy couple weeks as I have been training lots of scientists the art of snowmobiling, selling paintings at the McMurdo craft show, and doing Search & Rescue training.  I have lots of new material to post, just not enough time, so please be patient, but there is lots more exciting things to come. : )

Here is part 2 of my Cape Evans post.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  It was one of the most incredible days I have had in this amazing place.

Some beautiful ice crystals near Cape Evans, Antarctica.

Some beautiful ice crystals near Cape Evans, Antarctica.

Ice crystal formations near Cape Evans, Antarctica.

Ice crystal formations near Cape Evans, Antarctica.

The Barne Glacier.  This is the end of the glacier where it runs into the Ross Sea.

The Barne Glacier. This is the end of the glacier where it runs into the Ross Sea.

Icebergs frozen into the Ross Sea at Cape Evans, Antarctica.

Icebergs frozen into the Ross Sea at Cape Evans, Antarctica.

The remains of a dog in the stable area of R.F. Scott's Hut at Cape Evans, Antarctica.  The chain and collar are still on the dog.  It looks like it simply laid down to rest on it's bed and died.  : (  The early explorers used dog teams to reach the South Pole and they were often used as food when they became weak.

The remains of a dog in the stable area of R.F. Scott’s Hut at Cape Evans, Antarctica. The chain and collar are still on the dog. It looks like it simply laid down to rest on it’s bed and died. : ( The early explorers used dog teams to reach the South Pole and they were often used as food when they became weak.

A snowshoe made for a horse.  R.F. Scott tried to use horses to reach the South Pole, but they proved to be unsuccessful.  When they could no longer make it though the deep snow, the horses were killed and used for food.

A snowshoe made for a horse. R.F. Scott tried to use horses to reach the South Pole, but they proved to be unsuccessful. When they could no longer make it though the deep snow, the horses were killed and used for food.

A huge stack of seal blubber.  The seal blubber was used to provide both food (which likely sucked) and was burned in "blubber stoves" to heat the historic huts of the early Antarctic explorers.  The blubber still appears to be oozing fats and oil as there is nothing here to cause decomposition.  No insects, rodents, and freezing temps year round.  The smell of the blubber is very distinct and quite noticeable in Scott's hut at Cape Evans, and the Discovery Hut located at Hut Point.

A huge stack of seal blubber. The seal blubber was used to provide both food (which likely sucked) and was burned in “blubber stoves” to heat the historic huts of the early Antarctic explorers. The blubber still appears to be oozing fats and oil as there is nothing here to cause decomposition. No insects, rodents, and freezing temps year round. The smell of the blubber is very distinct and quite noticeable in Scott’s hut at Cape Evans, and the Discovery Hut located at Hut Point.

Tea and other supplies inside of Scott's Hut at Cape Evans, Antarctica.

Tea and other supplies inside of Scott’s Hut at Cape Evans, Antarctica.

The dining table inside Scott's Hut at Cape Evans.  Both Shackleton and Scott's expeditions used this table.  Imagine the holiday celebrations the men had, the discussions, the planning for their attempts to be the first to reach the South Pole.  The history just oozes out of this fantastic place and you can literally feel it.  Amazing!

The dining table inside Scott’s Hut at Cape Evans. Both Shackleton and Scott’s expeditions used this table. Imagine the holiday celebrations the men had, the discussions, the planning for their attempts to be the first to reach the South Pole. The history just oozes out of this fantastic place and you can literally feel it. Amazing!

Medical supplies inside the hut.  Everything is still in place, as if the men would be returning at any time.

Medical supplies inside the hut. Everything is still in place, as if the men would be returning at any time.

A table containing artifacts and science projects of the early Antarctic explorers.  The emperor penguin is not stuffed.  It is just as it was originally left.  History is frozen in time.

A table containing artifacts and science projects of the early Antarctic explorers. The emperor penguin is not stuffed. It is just as it was originally left. History is frozen in time.

Here I am looking like I have bug eyes.  LOL.  In the background you can see an iceberg frozen in the Ross Sea, and Mt Erebus erupting!  Such an awesome day!!

Here I am looking like I have bug eyes. LOL. In the background you can see an iceberg frozen in the Ross Sea, and Mt Erebus erupting! Such an awesome day!!

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Air transportation in Antarctica

Transportation in and around Antarctica can be challenging and very dangerous.  Ice covers nearly all of the continent and it’s average depth is over 7000 feet thick with some areas up to 15,000 feet thick!!  There are both alpine and continental glaciers with massive crevasses scattered though out Antarctica.  Many of the crevasses have snow bridges covering them so they appear to be solid snow, but in reality they are like giant traps that you can very easily fall into.  As a member of the Joint Antarctic Search and Rescue team we are doing crevasse training to learn how to self rescue ourselves, and also others who might fall into crevasses.  I will have more on that topic later.  In addition to the crevasses, there is bitter cold, very high winds, vast terrain, no infrastructure or roads, impassible mountains, etc. Because of the challenges, air transportation is often the easiest method to get people and cargo into the field.  (I hate to say easy as there have been many accidents involving planes and helicopters too.)

Flight operations in Antarctica are going on nonstop in the austral summer.  We have airfields on the ice shelf, annual sea ice, and a heliport right next to the building I work in.  A lot of the ATVs and snowmobiles I maintain get flown throughout the continent.  There are helicopters going everywhere, even to the top of the active volcano Mt. Erebus.  LC-130 Hercules planes take off from the sea ice runway and bring people, cargo, and fuel to the deep field camps and South Pole.  There are also smaller planes such as the Twin Otter, and Basler (DC3) which can land on really small snowfields.  I am hoping to fly in some of these aircraft soon as more and more field projects get underway.

A National Science Foundation Bell 212 Helicopter in Antarctica.

A National Science Foundation Bell 212 Helicopter in Antarctica.

An "A Star" helicopter flying one of my ATVs out to the Dry Valleys in Antarctica.

An “A Star” helicopter flying one of my ATVs out to the Dry Valleys in Antarctica.

Some of the LC-130 Hercules planes that are used to get larger cargo into the deep field camps and the South Pole.  They are equipped with skis so they can land on snow.

Some of the LC-130 Hercules planes that are used to get larger cargo into the deep field camps and the South Pole. They are equipped with skis so they can land on snow.

A bulldozer that fell into a crevasse in Antarctica.  Luckily it wasn't a really deep one!

A bulldozer that fell into a crevasse in Antarctica. Luckily it wasn’t a really deep one!

The annual sea ice runway at McMurdo Station Antarctica as seen from the Arrival Heights ridge.  In the foreground is the ice road to the runway.

The annual sea ice runway at McMurdo Station Antarctica as seen from the Arrival Heights ridge. In the foreground is the ice road to the runway.

 

Icebergs in the Ross Sea Ice and Scott’s Hut at Cape Evans

Here are some pictures of icebergs stuck in Ross Sea ice. They were truly amazing to see and much more impressive than the pictures show. Only about 10% of the iceberg is visible so the other 90% is underwater. These icebergs were likely grounded deep underwater and then frozen in the annual Ross Sea Ice.

The last picture is of R. F. Scott’s hut at Cape Evans, Antarctica. This was built as his home base during his South Pole Expedition over 100 years ago. He and his men died on their return from the pole. They nearly made it to a food depot stashed in the ice.

A large iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice.

A large iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice.

A very large iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice.  A Hagglund is in the distance.

A very large iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice. A Hagglund is in the distance.

I love icebergs!!

I love icebergs!!

Me in front of the iceberg.

Me in front of the iceberg.

This massive iceberg is stuck in the Ross Sea Ice.  It is sticking out of the ice about 50 feet and the other 90% of it is under the sea ice!!  That is an ice cave about half way up the face of it.

This massive iceberg is stuck in the Ross Sea Ice. It is sticking out of the ice about 50 feet and the other 90% of it is under the sea ice!! That is an ice cave about half way up the face of it.

Another shot of the large iceberg.

Another shot of the large iceberg.

Iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice.  A pressure ridge crack around the whole thing makes the perimeter very dangerous.

Iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice. A pressure ridge crack around the whole thing makes the perimeter very dangerous.

Beautiful iceberg in the Ross Sea Ice.  The part showing above the surface is only about 10% of it's actual size.   That would mean that the part we can't see is over 500 feet down under the ice!

Beautiful iceberg in the Ross Sea Ice. The part showing above the surface is only about 10% of it’s actual size. That would mean that the part we can’t see is over 500 feet down under the ice!

The Trans-Antarctic Mountains behind a giant iceberg.  The mountains are also known as the Royal Society range.

The Trans-Antarctic Mountains behind a giant iceberg. The mountains are also known as the Royal Society range.

Looking down a sea ice crack

Looking down a sea ice crack

Scott's Hut at Cape Evans, Antarctica.  This was R.F. Scott's base during his South Pole expedition over 100 years ago.  It's amazing to think that it exists exactly as they left it.

Scott’s Hut at Cape Evans, Antarctica. This was R.F. Scott’s base during his South Pole expedition over 100 years ago. It’s amazing to think that it exists exactly as they left it.