Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Life Without Big Red

I have been off the ice about 10 days now. Stepping off that plane was wild! It was dark, much warmer and you could smell flowers/rain.
It definitly took me a few days (ok maybe a week) to really believe I was off the ice. It seemed like everywhere I went the road was going to turn back into ice and everything would be white again.
Thankfully that has not happened, things are green, pretty and New Zealand is wonderful and also really set up for travelers!

I spent 5 days in Christchurch and then headed North. I am currently in Mt. Maganui on the North Island which is a neat little beach town.

Here are a few pictures of along the way.

Whale watching in Kaikoura, we saw 4 Sperm Whales, a pod of "dusky dolphins" and a wandering Albatross Huka Falls
self portrait while sitting on the ferry crossing from the south to the north island
the pretty!!!
boiling mud near Rotorua

the harbor at Picton, south island

Sunday, November 12, 2006

North is my new direction

Today is a big day for me here in McMurdo.

After 286 days on the ice I find myself currently waiting for the giant C-17 to pull into town and pick me up. Today my favorite word is NORTH and not to be confused with SOUTH. Because it has warmed up a bit (very relative) there are many planes flying to the South Pole. I will be paying close attention to which boarding line I get in.

Here are a few random pictures from the past couple of days
This little Adelie wandered to the edge of town and hung out for a day These 2 friends are living up at Cape Royds which has hundreds of Adelies
My roomates....but not my luggage. I hope I never have 4 big black bags that all look the same. booooring! Me, Karen, Cindy & Susie + some random guys luggage
My friend Matt and I

The Americans have formed a Rugby team in hopes of beating the Kiwis in the annual match in January. I dont think most have any idea how to play but it was fun watching them try and figure it out.
Well, I am hearing my favorite word...NORTH and that means time to GO!!!

Thanks for following along on this crazy almost 10 months.
I hope to update this while traveling.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Yes, i want to get in the water...

When the divers got out, I happened to ask if I could jump in. They seemed suprised but said "of course".

I had done the polar plunge during mid winter in June or July and I said if I had the chance to do it again I here it is 5 days before i am leaving the ice and I got to go for another brief swim. looks inviting doesnt it?
in and out I went...very quick like
happy girl!
It was great to feel the salt on my skin again

Dive Tending

I love to dive and be in the water, I dont think thats a when I had the opportunity to go out and help the divers yesterday I was really excited.

These pictures are out of order but you get the idea

This is what they were diving for, sea urchins & star fish
Rob & Steve. Rob learned to dive on Johnston Island in the 70's, same as me just 20 + years earlier.
The "Dive Tenders". Our job was to help with whatever needed to be done. We were hoping for a seal as we sat waited around the hole but didnt see one.
They collected about 50 of these guys to be taken to New Zealand for research
The dive hut and our ride
so much gear!
They dont use normal "BCD" to dive here. They are able to adjust buoyancy with their dry suits and have to wear about 50 lbs of weight instead of like a normal 12 lbs.
Doing the final breaking up of the ice chunks. they jump in here and have to go down about 17 feet in a hole this size before they get below the ice surface. Once you are down there they said its about 600 feet of visibility!!!
looks like fun!!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A fun Sunday Hike

Most of the town has Sunday off but with my job I have worked every Sunday since arriving. With my job winding down I took a rare Sunday off yesterday and went for a hike with friends.

When you hike here in Antarctica you have to "check out" with the firehouse. You must file a foot plan & carry a radio. If you are 1 minute late to check in on your foot plan upon returning the Search & Rescue team is activated & the search beings (no joke!!!) We headed out for a 5 mile hike on the Armitage loop which takes us over the hill to Scott Base and then out onto the Sea Ice

Just in case you pop down to visit, here is the "Travel Lodge"
me and Amber on a nice/not as windy day
We made it!!!

around town

How supplies are delivered to near by field camps out for a Sunday walk
pretty neat place to hang out
the view from above of a field camp
flags for each country represented on the continent

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Penguins and more...

3 little Adelies out for a Sunday stroll across the ice
These little guys came right up to us, stared us down for a little while and then took off running the other direction
Scott Base
A Quinze or what most of us would call an Igloo

Ice Diving

How you carry tanks in Antarctica..inside a warm pisten bully brrrrr
The dive site!
down they go
and back into the hut