This past week, I was sent to Cape Royds to remove all the comms equipment off the tower there. Cape Royds is the home of hundreds of Adelie penguins and was also the home of one of Shackleton's expeditions. The hut that his crew built there in the early 1900s is still there. So I was excited to be out there - to see the little penguins, and to be in the presence of Shackleton. (Endurance was the book recommended by my sister, Farley, that first got me interested in Antarctica.)
We pulled the antennas off tower, dug out some cable from under the snow and ice and then had some time to explore. Shackleton's hut was very neat, though I was not able to go inside as entrance is strictly controlled by the international conservation agreements. It was very neat to see the hut though (with canvas on the outside as restoration is in progress.) We could see the doghouses, the toilet, the trash heap, which I really would have liked to go through... and the weather station. Now I need to go back to my books and read about the hut and life at the hut. It's sort of like being where the astronauts walked on the moon!
The little Adelie's did not disappoint either. They are very curious, but used to researches who spend a season at the cape. Endlessly entertaining they are. They make a lot of noise and go to and fro, walking and sliding on their bellies. I think it is the way they walk upright that makes them unique and enjoyable to watch. They're almost like funny little kids. I'll let them speak for themselves:
It was wonderful to see the water up close and to really be on the coastline of a non-frozen ocean. We took some time to hike along the water and enjoy the area, and the views. Most of the time I was dreaming of sailing down here from New Zealand. We even saw one rise of a Minke Whale!
That's all for now! Three of us are currently at Black Island which is the satellite receiving station for all of McMurdo. (McMurdo can't see the satellites because Mt. Erebus is in the way. Black Island, a 15 minute helicopter flight across McMurdo Sound, can.) Climbed a 90 footer a few times today to restring a big HF four tower antenna. Here for a few more days.
Thanks for reading, hope all is well wherever you are!